The following can be attributed to Nusrat Choudhury, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois:
“The Supreme Court’s decision in the Fulton v. Chicago case is a real disappointment and fails to recognize that states and cities, including Chicago, are crushing residents with exorbitant fines and fees in order to balance the budgets. Chicago’s reliance on fines and fees buries people under mountains of debt, drives them to bankruptcy, and then keeps people from the vehicles needed to work their way out.
This problem will only get worse and continue to especially harm Black and Brown communities due to the pressures of COVID-related losses in revenue. We already see the City is seeking more revenue from drivers – and going after those found driving 6 miles an hour over the speed limit on traffic cameras – while allowing a mega-corporation like the Chicago Cubs to delay paying its own debts back the City.
It is disappointing that the Supreme Court’s decision will make this problem worse. As Justice Sotomayor’s concurrence recognizes, drivers in low-income communities across the country face similar vicious cycles of steep fines and fees, debt, and loss of their ability to drive to earn money, access medical care, care for their families, and repay their creditors.
As our country grapples with an economic recession that has plunged millions of people into financial crisis—with Black and Brown communities hardest hit—these practices in Chicago and elsewhere will continue to hurt communities, employers, and the broader public.”