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Judge OKs Lawsuit to Stop Obama Presidential Center


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A federal judge is allowing a parks-advocacy group's lawsuit to scrap former President Barack Obama's $500 million presidential center in Jackson Park, on Chicago's South Side.

Time Magazine's Michael Tarm has more:


Supporters of the project had hoped the court would grant a city motion to throw out the lawsuit by Protect Our Parks, some fearing any drawn out litigation might lead Obama to decide to build the Obama Presidential Center somewhere other than his hometown.

A lawsuit brought by another group in 2016 helped to scuttle a $400 million plan by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas to build a museum on public land on Chicago’s lakefront. That museum is now under construction in Los Angeles.

Judge John Robert Blakey heard arguments last week on the city’s motion to dismiss. Blakey did toss parts of the suit in his Tuesday ruling, but concluded the group has standing to sue because it represent taxpayers with concerns that providing parkland in the public trust to the Obama center violates their due-process rights.

Blakey’s ruling doesn’t mean the group will necessarily prevail in the end, but confirms that the suit poses a formidable threat to the project. The judge indicated that he doesn’t want the litigation to drag out, and that he would strictly limit any fact gathering leading up to trial to 45 days.

The original timeframe called for the center to open in 2021. However, construction hasn't started because of the lingering litigation.