PEORIA — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock’s legal challenge to his ongoing public corruption case.
By not taking the case up for review, the high court stopped one of the Peoria Republican’s many attempts to halt his case, which began almost four years and which is set for trial later this year.
Schock was challenging his charges based upon the so-called “rule-making clause,” which doesn’t allow a judge to interpret rules imposed by the U.S. House of Representatives as a way to preserve the separation of powers.
His attorneys argued that prosecutors' charges against Schock ran afoul of that provision. They filed a mid-case appeal last summer.
But a federal appeals panel in Chicago declined to hear the matter, saying they lacked jurisdiction. That prompted the request for the high court to intervene.
In a two-page order, Justice Sonia Sotomayor concurred with a ruling last spring by an Urbana-based judge who held the charges could stand despite Team Schock’s vehement objections.
That said, the justice left the door open for another challenge on the local level.
”I do so on the understanding, however, that Schock remains free to reassert his Rulemaking Clause challenge in the District Court should subsequent developments warrant,” she wrote.
George J. Terwilliger, III, Schock's lead attorney said his client was "gratified that a justice of the United States Supreme Court, looking at our case out of the hundreds that seek Supreme Court review, recognizes that the Schock case presents an important separation of powers issue that remains alive in the case.
"Whether prosecutors can so deeply intrude into the internal workings of the United States House of Representatives is a question yet to be answered in further court proceedings," he added.
It’s extremely rare for the Supreme Court to take a case. Each year, thousands ask the high court for a review of their legal proceedings. And less than 5 percent are accepted, according to records from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 37-year-old Schock was indicted in November 2016 on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, making false statements, filing a false tax return, theft of government funds and falsification of Federal Election Commission filings. The charges allege a course of conduct that began when Schock was first elected to Congress in 2008 and continued until October 2015, about six months after he resigned from office.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.