Willkie Represents Three Chicago Civic Organizations in Amicus Brief Filing to Support Obama Presidential Center Creation Amid Lawsuit to Stop Construction

July 16, 2021

The brief addresses the significance of the Obama Center to Chicago’s public interest and urges the Court to deny plaintiffs’ efforts to prevent its construction.

On July 15, three of the leading Chicago civic organizations – Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago Urban League, and the Chicago Community Trust – filed an amicus brief in support of the creation of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) amid a federal lawsuit filed by a group of plaintiffs seeking to halt the construction of the OPC on Chicago’s South Side.

The brief addresses the significance of the Obama Center to Chicago’s public interest and urges the Court to deny plaintiffs’ efforts to prevent its construction.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking a preliminary injunction against construction of the Obama Presidential Center, which would interfere with generations of efforts—undertaken by organizations like the civic groups—to spur Chicago’s vitality as a leading city. As long-standing Chicago non-profit organizations, each of the civic groups has contributed to the city’s progress for over a century, serving as critical repositories of experience and expertise in community and economic development. The brief notes that the presidential center will enable Chicago to take permanent pride in the first of its residents to reach the Oval Office, and hold the singular distinction of being the museum for the nation’s first Black president. Moreover, by hosting this treasure not downtown, but on the South Side, Chicago will enhance its efforts at equitable growth. By giving rise to a variety of economic and educational opportunities, the Obama Center will improve the quality of life among its future neighbors.

This is the second federal lawsuit brought against construction of the Obama Center. The prior lawsuit, which lasted from 2018 to 2020, was ultimately rejected by the Court.

Willkie is representing the three Chicago civic organizations with a team led by partner and Firm Chairman, Midwest Craig C. Martin and including partner Matt D. Basil and associate Samuel Gamer, based in the firm’s Chicago office.

The brief filed can be found here.

The OPC’s opposition to the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction can be found here.

The plaintiffs’ memorandum in support of their motion for preliminary injunction can be found here.