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Group behind tossed Obama Center lawsuit says it’s ‘stunned’ by judge’s decision

A federal judge declared Tuesday in a 52-page written opinion that “the facts do not warrant a trial, and construction should commence without delay” on the Obama Center.

A conceptual drawing for the proposed Obama Presidential Center that will be located in Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side. | Obama Foundation via AP Obama Foundation via AP

The day after a federal judge threw out a lawsuit that attempted to block construction of the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side, the advocacy group that filed the lawsuit says it is “stunned” by the decision.

“Politics, money, clout, self interest, and breach of fiduciary duty” were the causes behind the lawsuit’s failure, Protect Our Parks said in a statement late Wednesday.

In its statement, the group attacked U.S. District Judge John Blakey, former Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Park District commissioners, and claimed the ruling “raises issues of such Constitutional importance that it also sets in place the opportunity for a landmark ruling to benefit citizens experiencing similar recurring abuses throughout the United States.”

On Tuesday, Blakey declared in a 52-page written opinion that “the facts do not warrant a trial, and construction should commence without delay” on the Obama Center in historic Jackson Park. His decision to throw out the lawsuit meant the project cleared a significant hurdle. The lawsuit had loomed over the project since May 2018.

Lawyers for the Protect Our Parks told reporters after Tuesday’s hearing that they would take the case to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.