Saturday, August 19, 2017

August 31 fundraiser set for Kevin Cunningham

Supporters of Kevin Cunningham's judicial bid have scheduled a fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, August 31, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Sidebar Grille, 221 N. LaSalle Street. Tickets for the event are $100 apiece and will be available at the door. Sponsorships are also available (Level 1 -$125, Level 2 - $250, Level 3 - $500, and Platinum - $1,000). For more information, or to reserve tickets, see this page of the candidate website or email electkevincunningham@yahoo.com

Noreen Connolly campaign website launched; will seek 10th Subcircuit vacancy

Noreen Connolly, Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications, has announced her intention to seek a 10th Subcircuit vacancy. Her campaign website was recently launched. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Connolly has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1994, according to ARDC. Her campaign bio notes that she began her legal career in the Chicago Corporation Counsel's office, moving next to Arthur Andersen, where she was involved in "tax-related engagements, including tax technology/automation, planning, compliance and outsourcing engagements." In 2003, Connolly moved to Accenture, working with its U.S., State and Local Government Client Group, according to her campaign bio. She joined Verizon in 2008.

On the personal side, Connolly's campaign website stresses her Chicago roots, "the seventh of seven children of a Chicago fire chief and a hard-working full time mom." The campaign website notes that, in addition to her undergraduate work at the University of Illinois, and her attendance at IIT-Chicago-Kent Law School, Connolly also found time to study at University College, Galway. The campaign website also notes that Connolly has been active with Misericordia. A search of my archives suggests that this may be Connolly's first attempt at seeking judicial office.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Peter Michael Gonzalez campaign website launched, August 25 campaign kickoff event set

Supporters of newly slated candidate Peter Michael Gonzalez wasted no time in getting a campaign website online. That's a link to the website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added the blog Sidebar.

Licensed as attorney in Illinois since 1994, according to ARDC, Gonzalez practices from an office on 51st Street in Chicago's Gage Park Community. According to his campaign biography, Gonzalez began his legal career as an Assistant Public Defender, spending eight years in that office before setting up his own practice "focusing mostly on criminal defense but also helping clients with employment, immigration and other civil issues." He was an Administrative Law Judge with the Illinois Department of Employment Security from 2003 to 2012. Since 2005, Gonzalez has also served, according to his campaign bio, as President of the 14th Ward Volunteer Legal Clinic. A first-generation Cuban-American, Gonzalez has been active in the Puerto Rican Bar Association and the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, serving on their respective judicial evaluation committee (his wife, Dawn, is a former WBAI President).

The Gonzalez campaign likewise not wasted any time in launching fundraising efforts: A "Neighborhood Campaign Kickoff Event" has already been set for Friday, August 25, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., at the home of Tarick and Megan Loutfi in Oak Park.

This is not a ticketed event, but, according to the campaign committee, "suggested donations start at $50." In addition to the Loutfis, the Host Committee for this event (still in formation) includes State Sen. Don Harmon, David Pope, Luke and Amie Casson, Dan and Liz Seltzer, Mel and Lisa Smith, Bill Kelly and Kathy Carpenter, Wayne Franklin and Peter Erickson, and Randy and Michelle Hess. For more information about the event, or to confirm your attendance, email gonzalez4judge@gmail.com.

Michael Forti campaign website unveiled

Judge Michael Forti has announced plans to seek election to the Liu vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit, the vacancy to which the Supreme Court appointed him in September 2016.

Forti's supporters have unveiled a campaign website to boost Forti's election. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Prior to his appointment, Forti was Chief Counsel for Illinois Department of Transportation. Before that, Forti served as Deputy Corporation Counsel for the Constitutional and Commercial Litigation Division of the Chicago Department of Law and as the Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel of that division. Forti began his legal career with Bell Boyd & Lloyd (now K&L Gates), rising to partner before moving to the Corp Counsel's office.

A graduate of Northwestern University Law School, according to his campaign bio, Forti has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1980. He was a finalist for associate judge in 2014. He ran unsuccessfully for a countywide vacancy in 2012.

Breakfast reception for Judge David Navarro on August 29

Gentle readers, are your evenings so chock full of campaign-related events that your children have taken to asking you for identification when you finally do go home?

Well, here's a switch: The Chicago office of Wilson Elsner (55 West Monroe Street, Suite 3800) has scheduled a breakfast reception for Judge David Navarro on Tuesday, August 29, from 7:45 to 9:00 a.m.

To secure your place, or to obtain more information about the event, email Kathie Piscitello.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Three of six sitting judges endorsed for countywide judicial vacancies by Cook County Democratic Party

Multiple sources have confirmed that Judges Oran F. Whiting, Cecilia A. Horan, and Clare J. Quish have been endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party for the upcoming March 2018 primary. Judge Elizabeth A. Karkula was named a fourth alternate, meaning four more countywide vacancies would have to open up in time for the primary before she would receive party backing.

Both Judge Marina Ammendola and newly-appointed Judge John S. Fotopoulos were bypassed by the Cook County Democratic Party's Central Committee, but that does not mean neither will receive any party support if they choose to try and stay on the bench: Either Ammendola or Fotopoulos might yet find backing for a subcircuit vacancy.

Meanwhile, in addition to Whiting (endorsed for the Brewer vacancy to which he was just appointed), Horan (Hartigan vacancy), and Quish (Jordan vacancy), the Democrats have endorsed Jonathan Clark Green for the Clay vacancy, Preston Jones Jr. for the Flanagan vacancy, Peter Michael Gonzalez for the McGinnis vacancy, and Jack Hagerty for the Rooney vacancy.

Green is an Assistant Corporation Counsel, working in the Federal Civil Rights Division of that office, according to ARDC; he has been licensed as a lawyer in Illinois since 1986. Preston Jones Jr. is an Assistant Cook County Public Defender and has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1994, according to ARDC. Peter Michael Gonzalez was briefly a candidate during the 2014 election cycle, but withdrew. He was the Democratic Party's fifth alternate selection for the 2016 primary. An attorney since 1994, according to ARDC, Gonzalez practices from an office on West 51st Street in Chicago. Hagerty is a partner in the Chicago office of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP; he has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1990.

Alternates selected by the Cook County Democratic Party, in order, are Rosa Marie Silva, Tom S. Sianis, Thomas F. McGuire, Elizabeth A. Karkula, Thomas E. Nowinski, Pamela Reaves-Harris, Joseph P. Clary, and Richard 'Rick' Cenar.

Should slated judicial candidates be obliged to "contribute" $40,000 to the Democratic Party?

Thirty-third Ward Committeeman Aaron Goldstein (pictured at left) is the man who unseated legendary Committeeman Dick Mell. He is also an attorney who works as a supervisor in the Cook County Public Defender's Office.

In this morning's Chicago Sun-Times Committeeman Goldstein answers the question posed in the headline of this post with a resounding "no": "This practice needs to stop. Now."

Goldstein offers four reasons for his opinion (and explains each of these points in his piece, which I encourage you to read in full):
  1. It leads to a perception of corruption.
  2. It distracts from the principal issues in slating judicial candidates.
  3. It harms the slated candidate.
  4. It does not represent the costs claimed.
It does seem, well, unseemly when you think about it... an awful lot like a quid pro quo... you give us 40k and we'll slate you....

But...

Are all quid pro quos bad things? I give Jewel $182; it gives me a cart full of groceries. I give the local gas station $32.18; I get a full tank of gas. Open and transparent. Totally above board.

On the other hand...

How can you equate paying Jewel for groceries with paying the Cook County Democratic Party for making some lucky, faithful party supporter into a judge?

Well, that would look bad. Except... 40k doesn't make anyone a judge. That's not the quo for the quid. All the party promises is slating.

There was a time, not within the living memory of any Millennial, or even most of the Gen-Xer's, when slating was tantamount to election -- unless one was slated for a suburban 'suicide squad' run. Readers of this blog know that slating these days carries with it no guarantee of election. I have previously suggested that all a candidate gets for $40,000 is credibility and access.

Even in those misty, far-off days of Daley I it was not much different:
Once slated for office, the candidate is expected to carry his own load as part of the ticket. The central committee does very little except to arrange appearances for him at the various ward and township organizations during the campaign. He is expected to raise his own campaign funds, establish his own campaign office, do his own advertising, and reach those segments of the electorate to whom he supposedly has the greatest appeal on behalf of the ticket. In fact, a candidate for a major office, rather than getting campaign funds from the county central committee, is expected to make a major contribution to the county central committee for the privilege of being slated for office by the party. He is also expected to buy tickets for every ward and township organization dinner dance, picnic, and golf day.
Milton L. Rakove, Don't Make No Waves, Don't Back No Losers, p. 98 (Indiana University Press, 1975).

There is one major difference in terms of what the Democratic Party does, or doesn't do, for its candidates these days as opposed to the days of yore. Today, although the party still gathers signatures for all candidates, a slated candidate is also expected to help out with his or her own nominating petitions. In Professor Rakove's day, after he managed a place on the county ticket (in 1970, in a 'suicide squad' race for a suburban seat on the Cook County Board), he came to the realization that he had no idea how to get the signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot. He promptly repaired to party headquarters to ask Chairman Daley's office manager, Mary Mullen, what he should do. "She responded, pointing to a stack of petitions on a table, 'See that pile over there on that table? Those are your signatures, 8,000 names. This is an organization we are running here.'" (Dont Make No Waves..., p. 99, n. 1.)

Because the Democratic Party can apparently no longer guarantee that it can, on its own, garner sufficient signatures to make all of its candidates' nominating petitions 'bullet-proof,' the day may come when a duly slated Democratic Party candidate gets knocked off the ballot. But that hasn't happened yet. Right now, almost any judicial candidate would rather be slated than not slated.

So -- and maybe this is because I've been steeped too long in a simmering sea of corruption and cynicism -- I don't necessarily see a transparent $40,000 judicial candidate assessment as a totally bad thing. It is a campaign expense, one that most judicial wannabes would be only too pleased to pay (even if they'd have to throw a lot of fundraisers to accumulate it), not much different from the fee charged by the election lawyer, the campaign consultant, the printer, the web designer, and so on.

On the other, other hand, though, does slating really mean unanimous support from all 80 Democratic Party Committeemen?

FWIW readers know the answer here. And several committeemen -- the 47th comes to mind -- have already made endorsements in judicial races. Will any of these endorsements be rescinded if the rest of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee fails to concur in these recommendations?

Other ward and township organizations will have endorsement sessions later on; several will diverge from the 'official' slate in one or more races. History ain't bunk: Sometimes past performance really is a great indicator, if not an outright guarantee, of future results.

And, less publicly, as the primary draws near, some ward or township organization---and I do not here refer solely to one headed by an upstart, independent, progressive or goo-goo (whatever term you prefer)---will abandon one or more slated judicial candidates in favor of some candidate who has somehow won the favor of the committeeman. This will probably happen in more than just one 'regular' ward or township. Check the archives. It happens, to a greater or lesser extent, in every election cycle.

If I buy a toaster at Target, and I take it home, and plug it in... and it promptly belches smoke and fire, I take the toaster back to the store and demand (and expect) a refund. I didn't get quo for my quid; I want my quid back.

When various Democratic committeemen 'dump' a slated candidate, does the Cook County Democratic Party ever offer at least a pro rata refund?

I think we all know the answer to that one.

Therefore, on balance... although I'm sympathetic to Committeeman Goldstein's position (if for no other reason than I'll never have $40,000 to spare on my own)... what is the alternative? Say assessments are outlawed. Does anyone seriously expect that Democratic Party slatemakers would not consider past contributions to party causes in making future slates? The quid pro quo issue would still be there, but now it would be pushed underground... and made to look dirtier, I think.

Look, I agree with Committeeman Goldstein that "the party should be focused on promoting qualified, ethical and fair candidates that represent our diverse county. Period." But I think he asks too much if he thinks the party would not also want, and expect, and in some sense be entitled to, the support of those good people that it chooses to promote. Keep the assessment public -- and, slated candidates, watch that toaster for the first sign of smoke!

Keep your comments civil and don't get personal -- I'd like to publish as many comments as I can.

Thirty-four judicial hopefuls pitch Cook County Democratic Party committeemen

I could not go to the Cook County Democratic Party's slating meeting yesterday at the Erie Cafe---lawyer stuff getting in the way again---but David Thomas of the Law Bulletin was there and his article is in today's paper and online.

According to Thomas, the six sitting countywide appointees were given the privilege of addressing the slatemakers first. These were Judges Marina Ammendola, John S. Fotopoulos, Cecilia A. Horan, Elizabeth A. Karkula, Clare J. Quish, and Oran F. Whiting.

These following individuals also pitched the slatemakers, according to the Law Bulletin:
  • Erin Antonietti
  • Richard G. Cenar Jr.
  • Joseph P.M. Clary
  • Athena A. Farmakis
  • Mike Gonzalez
  • Jonathan Clark Green
  • Jack J. Hagerty
  • Preston Jones Jr.
  • Kathaleen T. Lanahan
  • John Maher
  • Thomas McGuire
  • William McLaughlin
  • Thomas E. Nowinski
  • James A. Pontrelli
  • James Reilly
  • Ioana Salajanu
  • Athanasios “Tom” S. Sianis
  • Christ S. Stacey
  • Daniel Trevino
  • Lynn Weaver-Boyle
  • Frank J. Andreou
  • Joseph Chico
  • Rosa Maria Silva
  • Bradley R. Trowbridge
  • Erika Lyn Orr
  • Caroline Smith-Jones
  • Natalie L. Howse
  • Pamela Reaves-Harris
Only seven of these individuals will be slated for the seven countywide vacancies. If form holds, the Party will also slate one or more alternates (last time there were four) -- persons effectively 'pre-slated' for any new countywide vacancies that may open up in time for the March 2018 primary. History suggests that it is likely that at least another countywide vacancy will open up in time.

Some of these persons will wind up running in subcircuits, with or without Party support. But slating in the subcircuits is handled by the committeemen in each subcircuit; some will have open slating meetings, some will not.

Even though I wasn't there yesterday, I can tell you that each of these presenters was asked whether they would support the Committee's decision (meaning that they would not run against the slate). I would bet that, though some may have tried to leave some lawyerly wriggle-room, all indicated that they would abide by the slatemakers' decisions. Most will honor that promise in hopes of gaining support in the future. They will wait.

Some have been waiting for quite awhile.

Who Sits Where -- Slating edition

Odd, isn't it, that the Illinois State Board of Elections puts up the official list of vacancies just in time for the Cook County Democratic Party's slating meeting? Anyway, time again to update this list -- but, I am pleased to say, most of the changes reflected here are ones you've already read about on FWIW. My readers make me look smart again! And, of course, all errors of omission or commission in this list are mine alone and I am grateful for additions and corrections provided.

Countywide Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. Eileen Mary Brewer -- Oren F. Whiting
Vacancy of the Hon. Evelyn B. Clay -- John S. Fotopoulos
Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas E. Flanagan -- vacant
Vacancy of the Hon. Russell W. Hartigan -- Cecilia A. Horan
Vacancy of the Hon. Michelle D. Jordan -- Clare J. Quish
Vacancy of the Hon. Sheila McGinnis -- Marina E. Ammendola
Vacancy of the Hon. Jean Prendergast Rooney -- Elizabeth A. Karkula

Subcircuit Vacancies

1st Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Orville E. Hambright, Jr. -- Litricia P. Payne

2nd Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Bertina E. Lampkin -- Fredrick H. Bates
Vacancy of the Hon. Marjorie C. Laws -- Adrienne E. Davis
Vacancy of the Hon. James L. Rhodes -- Toya T. Harvey
Vacancy of the Hon. John D. Turner, Jr. -- Travis Richardson
Vacancy of the Hon. Camille E. Willis -- Debra Ann Seaton

3rd Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Maureen Leahy Delehanty -- Patrick T. Stanton

4th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas Davy -- David R. Navarro
Vacancy of the Hon. James Riley -- John A. O'Meara

5th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Patricia Banks -- H. Yvonne Coleman
Vacancy of the Hon. Rickey Jones -- Marian E. Perkins
Vacancy of the Hon. Edward Washington II -- vacant

6th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Gloria Chevere -- Kent A. Delgado
Vacancy of the Hon. Richard C. Cooke -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Robert Lopez Cepero -- Stephanie K. Miller

8th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Candace J. Fabri -- Robin D. Shoffner
Vacancy of the Hon. Laura Cha-yu Liu -- Michael A. Forti
Vacancy of the Hon. Sheryl A. Pethers -- Myron F. Mackoff

10th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Eileen O'Neill Burke -- Stephanie Saltouros
Vacancy of the Hon. Donald J. Suriano -- Gerald V. Cleary

11th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Kathleen Kennedy -- Joanne F. Rosado

12th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. William O. Maki -- vacant

13th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Clayton J. Crane -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Jeffrey Lawrence -- Michael Perry Gerber
Vacancy of Hon. Ann O'Donnell -- Samuel J. Betar, III

15th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. George F. Scully, Jr. -- Diana L. Embil
Vacancy of the Hon. Frank G. Zelezinski -- Anthony C. Swanagan

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Jeanne Marie Wrenn to seek 8th Subcircuit vacancy; August 16 kickoff reception set

A campaign website has been established in furtherance of Jeanne Marie Wrenn's 8th Subcircuit judicial bid. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the blog Sidebar. The campaign also has a Facebook page.

Until earlier this year, Wrenn served as Senior Director and General Counsel at the National Safety Council. Before that, Wrenn worked as Ethics and EEO Officer for PACE. She has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2003, beginning her career in the office of the Cook County State's Attorney. After service there in the Traffic and Narcotics Divisions, Wrenn was assigned to the Legislative Unit, acting as a legislative liaison to the Illinois General Assembly, rising to Supervisor from December 2008 until she joined PACE. Wrenn made the associate judge short list in 2016.

Wrenn's supporters are throwing a campaign kickoff reception for their candidate on Wednesday, August 16, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Lizzie McNeill's Irish Pub, 400 N. McClurg Ct. Former Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine, former Judge Maureen Durkin Roy, former Cook County Assessor James Houlihan, Eddie Austin, Terry Banich, Sarah Burke, Timothy Cavanagh, Molly Cullen, Mike Forde, Kim Halvorsen, Michael Gallagher, William Harte, Jack Hartman, Shawn Kasserman, Daniel Kotin, Fred Krol, Tom McCauley, Tom Moore, Pat Nash, Thomas Pikarski, Richard Prendergast, Colleen Rock Mueller, Jay Rock, Meredith Ritchie, Mathew Rundio, Eileen Sethna, Michael Sorich, and Peter Wall are the listed hosts for this event.

Tickets are priced at $100 each, but sponsorships are available ($250 - Bronze, $500 - Silver, $1,000 - Gold, and $2,500 - Platinum). For more information about the event, or to reserve tickets, email james@lasallestrategies.com or call (773) 270-2051.

Retirement party for Judge William O. Maki set for August 17

A retirement party is being thrown for Third Municipal District Presiding Judge William O. Maki on Thursday, August 17, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Ditka's Restaurant, 2000 W. Euclid Avenue in Arlington Heights.

Tickets are $45 apiece (cash only). Appetizers, wine, beer and pop are included in the ticket price.

For more information, or to reserve tickets, call Carol Mulroe in the Presiding Judge's office, at (847) 818-2287, by Friday, August 11.

Judge Maki's pending retirement will open up a vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit.

Friday, August 04, 2017

HLAI Latina Lawyers Committee presents candidate seminar next Tuesday

The Latina Lawyers Committee of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois is presenting a seminar, The Nuts & Bolts of Running for Office, on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Jáuregui & Associates-Pilsen Law Center, 1545 W. 18th Street, Chicago.

Prominent election lawyer Burt Odelson, the managing partner of Odelson & Sterk, Ltd., will serve as moderator for the event. Panelists include Luke Keller, the Vice Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Election Law Committee; election lawyer Adam Lasker, of Adam W. Lasker Law, LLC, and general counsel to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners; and Sarah Garza Resnick, Chief of Staff for Cook County Clerk David Orr.

Seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve a space email latina.lawyers@hlai.org by Monday, August 7 or call HLAI Immediate Past President (and Odelson & Sterk attorney) Claudia Castro at (708) 424-5678.

Victory Research offers help for judicial candidates

Running for Judge is never easy under any circumstances. If you aren’t slated by the party, you know how difficult it can be to even get on the ballot. Now, even if you’re slated the party wants you to get some of your own signatures.That’s where Victory Research comes in. Since 2012 we have successfully put more than two dozen judicial candidates on the ballot. Including our work for Independent Maps, we collected more than 100,000 valid signatures during the 2016 election cycle. This year, it is your turn. If you hire us you WILL be on the ballot. Then, with the other services we offer, we will help you win your campaign. Please visit our website at www.illinoispolitics.webs.com, then call us at 312-388-1782, and ask for Mr. Murphy to find out how we can help you get on the ballot and win your campaign for Judge this year.

Barrido website goes live; supporters plan September 10 picnic fundraiser

Supporters of Jerry Barrido's countywide judicial bid have launched a campaign website and have announced a fundraiser for their candidate on Sunday, September 10. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

As for the September 10 fundraiser, the Barrido campaign has dubbed it a "Picnic in the Park," to be held at Kiwanis Park, 8820 Brookfield Ave., in Brookfield, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Angela McGovern Franklin is the listed host for the event, at which picnic fare, including beer and wine, will be served. Music and other entertainment has been promised, and the organizers expect to have volleyball, basketball and other games for participants to enjoy.

Individual tickets are priced at $25 each, and sponsorships are also available (Supporter - $50, Sponsor - $250). Larger families may wish to attend for a special family price of $100. The campaign is asking that tickets be purchased on the campaign website.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Birthday fundraiser set for Judge Joanne Rosado

Supporters of Judge Joanne Rosado's 11th Subcircuit candidacy are planning a fundraiser for Thursday, August 10, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at Lazo's, 2009 N. Western Ave.

Joanne Angsten and Hilda Frontany are the listed hosts for the event, which is meant to commemorate Judge Rosado's recent 46th birthday. This explains why tickets for the event are priced at $46 each (there is a supporter sponsorship available, for $146). Although there is a cash bar, dinner and parking are included in the ticket price.

For more information about the fundraiser, or to order tickets, email Pericles Abbasi at pericles@uchicago.edu

Shapiro fundraiser set for September 12

For those who like to fill their dance cards out in advance, supporters of the 8th Subcircuit candidacy of James A. "Jamie" Shaprio, have announced a fundraiser for their candidate on Tuesday, September 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Hubbard Inn, 110 W. Hubbard.

Tickets for the event are priced at $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Supporter - $150, Bronze - $250, Silver - $500, Gold - $1,000). For more information, or to reserve tickets, email james@lasallestrategies.com. Tickets are also available at this link.

Oran F. Whiting appointed to reopened Brewer vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Oran F. Whiting to the countywide vacancy about to be vacated by Judge Litricia P. Payne (who is moving to a pending 1st Subcircuit vacancy).

Whiting's appointment, like Payne's new appointment, is effective August 7 and terminates on December 3.

FWIW readers will recall that Whiting had previously announced plans to seek a judicial vacancy and that he was among the 28 judicial hopefuls who appeared for the Cook County Democratic Party's pre-slating meeting in June. Among his other career accomplishments, Whiting has served as a Commissioner of the Illinois Court of Claims, as a hearing officer for the Illinois Secretary of State and, currently, as a member of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois’ Oversight Committee.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Judge Payne to switch seats

The Supreme Court entered an order yesterday appointing Judge Litricia P. Payne to a First Subcircuit vacancy that will open up when Judge Orville E. Hambright, Jr. retires on August 4.

Judge Payne's appointment is effective August 7 and expires December 3, 2018.

Payne is currently serving on the bench pursuant to a December 2016 appointment to the countywide Brewer vacancy. The Brewer vacancy will be unfilled again... for now, anyway.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Who Sits Where -- Christmas in July edition

Time to update this list again to reflect the latest announced vacancies and appointments. I assume there are vacancies I don't have on this list, but this list is as complete as I can make it now. All errors of omission or commission in this list are mine alone and I am grateful for additions and corrections provided.

Countywide Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. Eileen Mary Brewer -- Litricia P. Payne
Vacancy of the Hon. Evelyn B. Clay -- John S. Fotopoulos
Vacancy of the Hon. Russell W. Hartigan -- Cecilia A. Horan
Vacancy of the Hon. Michelle D. Jordan -- Clare J. Quish
Vacancy of the Hon. Sheila McGinnis -- Marina E. Ammendola
Vacancy of the Hon. Jean Prendergast Rooney -- Elizabeth A. Karkula

Subcircuit Vacancies

1st Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Orville E. Hambright, Jr. -- vacant

2nd Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Bertina E. Lampkin -- Fredrick H. Bates
Vacancy of the Hon. Marjorie C. Laws -- Adrienne E. Davis
Vacancy of the Hon. James L. Rhodes -- Toya T. Harvey
Vacancy of the Hon. John D. Turner, Jr. -- Travis Richardson
Vacancy of the Hon. Camille E. Willis -- Debra Ann Seaton

3rd Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Maureen Leahy Delehanty -- Patrick T. Stanton

4th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas Davy -- David R. Navarro
Vacancy of the Hon. James Riley -- John A. O'Meara

5th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Patricia Banks -- H. Yvonne Coleman
Vacancy of the Hon. Rickey Jones -- Marian E. Perkins
Vacancy of the Hon. Edward Washington II -- vacant

6th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Richard C. Cooke -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Gloria Chevere -- Kent A. Delgado
Vacancy of the Hon. Robert Lopez Cepero -- Stephanie K. Miller

8th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Candace J. Fabri -- Robin D. Shoffner
Vacancy of the Hon. Laura Cha-yu Liu -- Michael A. Forti
Vacancy of the Hon. Sheryl A. Pethers -- Myron F. Mackoff

10th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Eileen O'Neill Burke -- Stephanie Saltouros
Vacancy of the Hon. Donald J. Suriano -- Gerald V. Cleary

11th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Kathleen Kennedy -- Joanne F. Rosado

13th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Clayton J. Crane -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Jeffrey Lawrence -- Michael Perry Gerber
Vacancy of Hon. Ann O'Donnell -- Samuel J. Betar, III

15th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. George F. Scully, Jr. -- Diana L. Embil
Vacancy of the Hon. Frank G. Zelezinski -- Anthony C. Swanagan

Updated with additional information on July 22

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 26 fundraiser for Rishi Agrawal

Supporters of Rishi Agrawal's 8th Subcircuit judicial bid have announced a campaign kickoff event for their candidate.

The campaign kickoff will be held on Wednesday, July 26, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at Bar Louie's Dearborn Station - Printers Row location, 47 W. Polk Street. Ald. Ameya Pawar is the Honorary Host for this event; the other listed hosts are Mike Maddaloni, Saadia Siddique, Sufyan Sohel and Will Barroso.

Tickets for the event cost $50 apiece, but sponsorships are available ($100 - Friend, $250 - Benefactor). For more information about the fundraiser, or to reserve tickets, email RishiAgrawalforJudge@gmail.com.

A cautionary tale and a blogger's confession

I removed a name this morning from the list of hosts I initially included in yesterday's post about Judge Clare Joyce Quish's August 9 fundraiser. I admit my share of fault in this: When I got the information for the post from the campaign, I found I could copy and paste the host list without retyping each name, and I did. That meant I just glanced at the list, long enough to notice that this was a list of very prominent people, but not long enough to notice that a sitting judge was listed as one of the hosts.

My readers are more alert than I was. Soon after the post went up, I received a comment along the lines of 'I didn't know So-and-So had retired, but he must have, else why is his name attached to this fundraiser?' I didn't run the comment because it also took a gratuitous, or at least unnecessary, swipe against someone else -- but I am, as always, grateful to the author of the comment for alerting me.

I immediately reached out to the Quish campaign about this and, this morning, word has filtered back: The inclusion of the judge's name in the list was a mistake.

As my kids might have said during their teenage years, no duh.

Still, I'm not here to embarrass anyone. On the other hand, there's no sense in merely editing out the name and pretending it didn't happen; my blog had over 1,000 page views yesterday. And my information was taken from a flyer that had presumably been sent already to prospective donors. It had been seen.

So I offer this episode as a cautionary tale to campaigns going forward: Don't place too much responsibility in the hands of a campaign consultant or fundraiser who may not understand the limitations that the Code of Judicial Conduct puts on judicial campaigns. Have someone with judicial campaign experience look at fundraising invites before they get out into the great wide world.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Associate Judge Samuel Betar III appointed to 13th Subcircuit vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court today appointed Cook County Associate Judge Samuel J. Betar III to a 13th Subcircuit vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Ann O'Donnell.

Betar's appointment is effective July 28; it terminates December 3, 2018.

Judge O'Donnell was first elected to the Circuit Court in 2008; she was retained in 2014.

August 3 fundraiser set for Judge Cecilia Anne Horan

Supporters of Judge Cecilia Horan's countywide judicial campaign are organizing a fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, August 3, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted.

Jeremy Gottschalk, Ray Koenig, 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez, 40th Ward Ald. Patrick O’Connor, and Alain Villeneuve are the listed hosts for this event. Tickets are $125 apiece, and sponsorships are available (Supporter - $250, Sponsor - $500, Patron - $1,000, Chair - $1,500, and Host - $2,500). "Young professionals" will be admitted for $75 each. Tickets are available online at this link.

For more information about the event, or to find out what qualifies as a "young professional", email eric@blueprintcampaignconsulting.com.

August 9 fundraiser set for Lindsay Hugé

Supporters of Lindsay Hugé's 8th Subcircuit campaign have scheduled a fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, August 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at The Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave.

Aldermen Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward), James Cappleman (46th Ward), Ameya Pawar (47th Ward) and Joe Moore (49th ward) are listed as honorary hosts for this event. "Local jazz talent" will be featured. Tickets cost $75 each ($125 per couple) and sponsorships are available ($250 - Supporter, $500 - Bronze Sponsor, $1,000 - Silver Sponsor, and $2,500 - Gold Sponsor) and may be obtained online at this link.

For more information, or to reserve tickets, call (773) 270-2051 or email james@lasallestrategies.com.

Two early August fundraisers set for Judge Clare Joyce Quish

Revised July 21, 2017

Supporters of Judge Clare Joyce Quish's countywide election bid are planning two fundraisers in early August for their candidate.

The first of these is set for Wednesday, August 2, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at Latinicity, on the 3rd floor of Block 37, 108 N. State Street.

Jonathan Amarilio and Trisha Rich are the listed hosts for this event, which is billed as a "young professionals reception."

Tickets are available for $50 apiece, but sponsorships are available (Supporter - $100, Patron - $200, Sponsor - $500, Host - $1,000, and Chair - $1,500) and may be purchased online at this link.

The second Quish event is set for the following Wednesday, August 9, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at Petterino's, 150 N. Dearborn Street (the reception will be in Petterino's lower level (entrance off Randolph Street). Chuck Cole, Kevin Conway, John Cooney, Robert Cooney Jr., Steven Hart, Keith Hebeisen, Christopher Hurley, Dan Kotin, Patrick Salvi, and Gretchen Harris Sperry are the listed hosts for this reception.

Tickets for this second event are $250 each, and sponsorships are available for this event as well ($500 - Supporter, $1,000 - Patron, $1,500 - Sponsor, $2,500 - Host, and $5,000 - Chair). Tickets may be obtained online at this link.

For more information about the reception, or to reserve tickets, call Eric at (773) 562-9559 or email eric@blueprintcampaignconsulting.com.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

August 9 fundraiser set for Judge David Navarro

Supporters of Judge David Navarro's election bid are planning a fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, August 9, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m., at Moe's Cantina, 155 W. Kinzie Street. Claudia Castro, Anna Lozoya, Sulema Medrano, Alex Menchaca, Lisette Mojica, Juan Morado Jr., Ernesto Palomo, Martin Quintana, and Federico Rodriguez are the listed hosts for the event.

Tickets for the event are $50 each, and will be available at the door. Sponsorships are available (VIP - $100, Patron - $250, Benefactor - $500). For more information about the fundraiser, or to reserve tickets, email electjudgedavidnavarro@gmail.com or see this page of the candidate's website.

August 1 fundraiser set for Judge Stephanie Saltouros

Supporters of Judge Stephanie Saltouros's 10th Subcircuit election bid are planning a Tuesday, August 1 reception for their candidate, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Billy Goat Inn, 1535 W. Madison St.

Tickets for the event are $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Host - $500, Sponsor - $1,000, Patron - $2,500, Chair - $5,000). For more information about the event, or to reserve tickets, email kellymarie@kmmconsulting.com.

Monday, July 17, 2017

47th Ward Democratic Orgainzation to screen judicial candidates on July 25

The 47th Ward Democratic Organization's Judicial Recommendation Committee has announced plans to screen countywide judicial hopefuls, and judicial candidates planning to file in the 6th, 8th, and 10th Subcircuits, on Tuesday, July 25.

Candidates will need to schedule a time for their presentations. To make an appointment, or for additional information about the screening meeting, email Rob Kern at 47thdems@gmail.com. Appointments need to be set up by July 19, Kern told FWIW.

In a press release, Committeeman Paul Rosenfeld stated that more than 20 well-qualified persons applied to serve on the Judicial Recommendation Committee showing "the importance of the 47th Ward in selecting new judges." The 47th Ward's Judicial Recommendation Committee consists of Committeeman Paul Rosenfeld, Michael Del Galdo, Steven Hart, Sandy Morris, Jim Erwin, Brendan Shiller, Jack Lydon, Coral Negron, David Saunders, Jay Edelson, Matthew Belcher, and Jennifer Russell.

John Fotopolous appointed to countywide vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court has today appointed Orland Park attorney John S. Fotopoulos to the countywide vacancy created by the recent retirement of Judge Evelyn B. Clay. The appointment is effective August 7 and terminates December 3, 2018.

Fotopoulos has been licensed as an attorney since 2000, according to ARDC. He was a candidate for a 15th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2014 Primary. Currently, Fotopoulos operates a law office in Orland Park, focusing on personal injury and criminal defense matters.

July 25 fundraiser for Judge Stephanie Miller

Supporters of Judge Stephanie Miller's 6th Subcircuit election bid are planning a Tuesday, July 25 reception for their candidate, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Billy Goat Inn, 1535 W. Madison St.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $50 each, and sponsorships are available (Host - $150, Sponsor - $300, Patron -- $500, Chair - $1,000). Appetizers will be served; there will be a limited open bar. For more information, or to reserve tickets, email info@electjudgestephaniemiller.com. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Gino Betts to seek 5th Subcircuit vacancy

Attorney Gino Betts has announced plans to seek a 5th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2018 primary. His supporters have set up a campaign website touting his candidacy. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

According to ARDC, Betts has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2009. Betts' campaign biography states that he now works for Chicago's "police oversight agency," presumably the Independent Police Review Authority, although a Facebook page indicates he is employed by the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability (which is scheduled to formally start operations in mid-September). Some uncertainty in this regard is understandable, during this time of transition.

Betts' campaign biography is far more certain about his background before becoming involved in police accountability matters. An excerpt:
I grew up in Chicago on a block where no one came outside. We stayed indoors to insulate ourselves from the drugs and crime outside the front door. Unfortunately, that did not work. Inside the house, I had family addicted to crack cocaine. In my young mind, I thought if we just got the drugs off the street, then the crime would stop too. So, after graduating from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and completing undergraduate and law degrees, I became a prosecutor.​

For years, I worked to get drugs, guns and murderers off our streets. But working in court every day, it seemed that the crime was largely a symptom of an underlying epidemic: poverty. Most of the defendants that came into my courtroom were poor, black, drug addicted and/or mentally ill, just like folks in my family. These conditions inspired me to attack this public health issue from another direction. So, I quit my job as a prosecutor to join Cook County’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management....
According to his campaign biography, Betts also serves on the Auxiliary Board of Christ the King Jesuit Preparatory School and as a Director of the Civic Leadership Board of the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago. The campaign biography also notes that Betts has served as "associate board president" of Just the Beginning - A Pipeline Organization.

Two fundraisers next week for Judge Cecilia Horan

Supporters of Judge Cecilia Anne Horan's countywide judicial bid have scheduled two fundraisers for their candidate next week, on Tuesday, July 18 and Thursday, July 20.

The July 18 event will be held at 3000 N. Sheridan Rd. Nick Furtwengler, Matthew Jannusch, Adam Kolrzan, James Nawrocki, and Moses Suarez are the listed hosts for this fundraising reception. Tickets are $50 apiece, but sponsorships are available ($100 - Supporter, $200 - Patron, $500 - Sponsor, $1,000 - Host, $1,500 - Chair). Because this event will be staged at a private residence, persons interested in attending need to call (773) 562-9559 or email eric@blueprintcampaignconsulting.com for more specific information about the event.

The Chicago office of the law firm of Quarles & Brady will be the site of Judge Horan's July 20 fundraiser. Jack Bentley and Anneke Diem are the listed hosts for this event. Tickets for this event are also $50 each and sponsorships are available at the same levels as the July 18 fundraiser ($100 - Supporter, $200 - Patron, $500 - Sponsor, $1,000 - Host, $1,500 - Chair). For more information about this event, or to reserve tickets, interested persons should also call (773) 562-9559 or email eric@blueprintcampaignconsulting.com.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

July 13 fundraiser set for Judge David R. Navarro

Supporters of Judge David R. Navarro's election bid are planning a fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, July 13, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at Tufano's Vernon Park Tap, 1073 W. Vernon Park Place, Chicago. Tickets will be available at the door and are priced at $100 each (government employees will be admitted for $50). Sponsorships are also available (Friend - $250, Patron - $500, Benefactor - $1,000).

Former Cook County State's Attorney Richard A. Devine is the host for the event. For more information, or to reserve tickets, email electjudgedavidnavarro@gmail.com or see this Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Travis Richardson website goes live, July 13 fundraiser set

A campaign website has been established for Judge Travis Richardson. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the blog Sidebar.

Unlike many campaign websites at this early stage of the campaign, Richardson's makes clear that he is not just running in the 2nd Subcircuit, he is running for the Turner vacancy, the vacancy to which the Illinois Supreme Court appointed him earlier this year. Prior to his appointment, Richardson was a partner in the firm of Richardson & Mackoff (his partner, Myron F. Mackoff, left the firm a few months earlier to take up duties as a Circuit Court judge from the 8th Subcircuit). Richardson was a candidate for a 2nd Subcircuit vacancy in the 2016 Primary, garnering the Tribune's endorsement and a "Well Qualified" rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers in the course of his campaign.

Richardson's campaign bio notes that, before his ascension to the bench, he "acted as general counsel for Wireless Wearables, Inc., Xi Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and ONYX Architectural Services, Inc." Richardson has served as the Financial Secretary for the Cook County Bar Association and on the Elections Committee of the National Bar Association. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School, Richardson has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1997.

Richardson's supporters have scheduled a July 13 fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, July 13, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the offices of Winston & Strawn LLP, 35 E. Wacker. Tickets are priced at $100 each and will be available at the door. Sponsorships are also available ($250 - Friend, $500 - Host, $1,000 - Co-Chair).

The listed honorary chairs for the event are Ald. Carrie Austin, Vice-Chair of the Cook County Democratic Party; Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough, Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois; MWRD Commissioner Tim Bradford, Vice-Chair of the Cook County Democratic Party; Ald. Howard Brookins, Jr.; Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers; and Winston & Strawn partner Sam Mendenhall. For more information about the event, or to reserve tickets, email Info@CraticShaffer.com or call (312) 798-9376.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Campaign website launched, June 29 fundraiser set for Judge Tricia Payne

Supporters of Judge Tricia Payne's election bid have launched a campaign website on her behalf. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar. There is also a Facebook campaign page.

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Judge Payne to the countywide Brewer vacancy at the end of 2016. At the time of her appointment, as her campaign bio notes, was a "Will County Assistant Public Defender serving as a felony supervisor and an organizing member of the Will County Mental Health Court."

A Chicago native (and Whitney Young alum, according to her campaign bio), Payne currently resides in the City of Chicago with her husband and daughter. She was licensed in Illinois in 1997. Her campaign bio notes that she clerked for various agencies, including the Chicago Housing Authority, before becoming a lawyer. After receiving her license, and before joining the Will County PD's office, Payne was a solo practitioner. She "was a founding member and former president of the Black Bar Association of Will County, also chairing the Barrister's Ball and Clothing Drive," according to her campaign website.

Payne's supporters have scheduled a fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, June 29, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Woodie's Flat Chicago, 1535 N. Wells Street in Chicago. Tickets are priced at $100 each and will be available at the door. Sponsorships are also available ($150 - Supporter, $250 - Sponsor, $500 - Host, $1,000 - Chair).

The listed hosts for the event are Cong. Danny Davis, MWRD Commissioner Tim Bradford, Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough, Ald. Michelle Harris, Ald. Howard Brookins, Jr., Ald. Walter Burnett, Jr., and Ald. Roderick Sawyer. For more information about the event, or to reserve tickets, email Info@CraticShaffer.com or call (312) 798-9376.

One thing the Legislature may be doing while it is not passing a budget

The Illinois House is considering a bill, introduced by Rep. Luis Arroyo, to amend the Cook County subcircuit statute, 705 ILCS 35/2f, to allow Cook County subcircuit boundaries to be redrawn after the next census. The bill is HB 711. Current status, according to the Illinois General Assembly website, is as follows (click on image to enlarge or clarify):


Interestingly, no amendment appears to have been offered to §2f(e) of the Circuit Courts Act, 705 ILCS 35/2f(e). Section 2f(e) provides:
A resident judge elected from a subcircuit shall continue to reside in that subcircuit as long as he or she holds that office. A resident judge elected from a subcircuit after January 1, 2008, must retain residency as a registered voter in the subcircuit to run for retention from the circuit at large thereafter.
This provision was added to §2f after the Illinois Attorney General issued an opinion in 2006, No. 06-005, stating that subcircuit judges could move from the subcircuit after being retained in office. That's because judges are not retained in office by only the voters in their subcircuit; instead, they must face a countywide yes or no vote. The Legislature may not have intended that subcircuit judges would be permitted to move after their first retention election -- as §2f(e) would subsequently confirm -- but the Attorney General concluded that, after facing all of Cook County's voters in a retention election, the "unit" electing the judge was different than it was originally and the newly retained judge would be free to relocate anywhere within that new, larger unit (in our case, anywhere within Cook County).

The problem with §2f(e) is that it may be unconstitutional: In Thies v. State Board of Elections, 124 Ill.2d 317, 529 N.E.2d 565 (1988), the Illinois Supreme Court stated that the Legislature is without power to impose requirements for judicial office greater than those imposed by the Illinois Constitution. In that case, the Legislature had created a judgeship for Champaign County, insisting that anyone running for that position be a resident of Champaign County, but requiring also that the judge would be elected by all the voters in the Sixth Circuit -- which included counties other than Champaign. In other words, a duly licensed attorney residing in the unit from which the judge was to be elected was ineligible under the statute unless he or she lived in Champaign County. This, the Supreme Court said, the Legislature could not do.

In her 2006 opinion, the Attorney General determined that the reasoning of the Thies court would likely apply in the case of a judge moving from a subcircuit after being retained in office; after a judge is retained by the entire county, the unit selecting that judge had changed.

Section 11 of Article VI of the 1970 Illinois Constitution provides:
No person shall be eligible to be a Judge or Associate Judge unless he is a United States citizen, a licensed attorney-at-law of this State, and a resident of the unit which selects him. No change in the boundaries of a unit shall affect the tenure in office of a Judge or Associate Judge incumbent at the time of such change.
Section 12(d) of Article VI provides that circuit court judges must run in retention elections (emphasis mine):
Not less than six months before the general election preceding the expiration of his term of office, a Supreme, Appellate or Circuit Judge who has been elected to that office may file in the office of the Secretary of State a declaration of candidacy to succeed himself. The Secretary of State, not less than 63 days before the election, shall certify the Judge’s candidacy to the proper election officials. The names of Judges seeking retention shall be submitted to the electors, separately and without party designation, on the sole question whether each Judge shall be retained in office for another term. The retention elections shall be conducted at general elections in the appropriate Judicial District, for Supreme and Appellate Judges, and in the circuit for Circuit Judges. The affirmative vote of three-fifths of the electors voting on the question shall elect the Judge to the office for a term commencing on the first Monday in December following his election.
No provision was made for retaining judges by subcircuit because there were no subcircuits in 1970. So, although the Legislature clearly rejected the AG's opinion in 2007 when §2f(e) was passed, the constitutional argument has not been resolved.

Ah, well. If legislators did their jobs better, even more lawyers would be out of work than presently.

Meanwhile, if HB 711 becomes law, subcircuits will get redrawn in time for the 2022 primary. That would be interesting.

Recent comments I've suppressed.... and why

Figuring out which comments to let through and which to flush isn't always easy for this blogger.

Sure, it's easy to bar comments that say Judge So-and-So is a crook and it's harmless enough to let through comments like Congratulations to new Judge So-and-So; she'll do a great job. It's the ones in between that get the blogger into trouble.

If I set out to offend someone, you (and the person to be offended) will know about it. But I feel bad when I offend people by accident. And yet I have offended people inadvertently -- as I was reminded a couple of months ago now when I was invited by a mutual acquaintance to have coffee with a person who has been frequently lampooned in comments on this blog. This person hadn't reached out to me before, but had been doing a slow burn every time a judge or politician or friend would call and say did you see what they're saying about you on Leyhane's blog? Well, I didn't know that this person was becoming increasingly upset; when you don't hear from someone, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that the person doesn't mind... there are those, after all, who subscribe to the theory that all publicity is good publicity.

And then there are others who immediately let me know they don't like this comment, or that one. I encourage people not to be too thin-skinned. Politics ain't beanbag, as Finley Peter Dunne's Mr. Dooley once correctly opined. And don't we already have the terrible example of too-thin-skinned in the White House? No slight, no matter how slight, can go unresponded, usually in a 3:00 a.m. tweet. Better to laugh off a snide remark or two or, at least, if you can't do that (as my baseball-playing sons would shout at a teammate who'd been hit by a pitch), don't rub it.

On the other hand, my aim is to pass good information along, not to toughen the psyches of some or indulge the meanness of others. So when a comment comes in, and I know it will be offensive to someone, I have to make a calculation: How interesting or valuable -- and how likely true -- is the information provided? How deeply intertwined is it within the gratuitous slaps at others? I wish I could edit comments, but I can't. Case in point: Someone recently sent in a prediction about who is likely to be appointed to a current vacancy. It's a plausible bit of speculation -- and some of the speculations provided by readers in these comments have proved spot on -- but I had to take a pass because of how it was worded.

And then there are the commenters that are trying to re-open disputes that have long been resolved -- and not resolved by me, mind you, but by the Cook County Electoral Board and/or the courts in past election cycles. Yes, I understand that challenges may, and probably will, be renewed when and if these candidates refile for new vacancies in the upcoming primary. I will report on the challenges, as I have in the past, the best of my ability and as my day job permits. In the meantime, stop with these kinds of comments. They're not going in.

Also beyond the pale are old-news comments about ARDC issues.

Readers: Did you know you can check any lawyer's ARDC status online? Visit the ARDC website and click on lawyer search in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. Follow the directions and you too can see, inter alia whether this lawyer or that one has been the subject of any complaints by the disciplinary authorities and, if so, how those complaints were resolved. And guess what? The evaluating bar groups can do this, too! And, not only that, every candidate who submits credentials for bar evaluation signs forms giving permission for the bar groups to get further information from ARDC, information that the ARDC would otherwise keep confidential. So the bar groups know more than you, dear anonymous commenters, about this candidate's ARDC history or that one's. So stop trying to plant poisonous comments about prior complaints, OK? The bar groups knew about them and decided that Candidate X was qualified despite a prior ARDC complaint. Those comments aren't going in either.

Just today, someone sent in a comment that, among other things, claimed that Candidate Y had terrible bar ratings. I can't run that. For better or for worse, bar groups do not reveal candidate ratings on a rolling basis. In my opinion, it would be nice to click to a page on the CBA website -- for example -- which listed the names of all persons having current judicial ratings, all hyperlinked to their respective CBA ratings. It would be a greater logistical challenge for the Alliance, with its 11 constituent groups, which is why I used the CBA as my example here. But, either way, no such site exists. All the bar groups will be working diligently right up until the eve of the March 2018 Primary evaluating candidates and the groups' evaluations of every candidate then still in the running will be released all at once. And, meanwhile, although the CBA and the Alliance have both worked very cooperatively with me through the years, they're not going to let me check whether Candidate Y has current ratings and what those ratings are -- which I'd want to do before deciding to let such a comment through. So -- although there may have been some merit to the comment, I can't run it.

I am grateful for the comments that come into the blog. I know readers value them. I will let through what I think I can. But I can't let them all in and, now, perhaps, you better understand why.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Twenty-eight countywide judicial hopefuls present credentials for pre-slating

The Cook County Democratic Party has released the names of the 28 countywide judicial hopefuls presenting their credentials at this week's pre-slating meeting. In order of their scheduled appearances, candidates seeking Party support at this juncture are:
  • Clare Quish
  • Cecilia Horan
  • Elizabeth Karkula
  • Litricia Payne
  • Rick Cenar
  • Jonathan Clark Green
  • Jack Hagerty
  • Preston Jones, Jr.
  • Kathleen Lanahan
  • William McLaughlin
  • James Murphy-Aguliu
  • Thomas Nowinski
  • Mike O'Malley
  • James Pontrelli
  • James Reilly
  • Tom Sianis
  • Christ Stacey
  • Daniel Trevino
  • Oran Whiting
  • Tom McGuire
  • Ioana Salajanu
  • Mike Gonzalez
  • Lynn Weaver
  • Erin Antonietti
  • Athena Farmakis
  • Joseph Clary
  • John Maher
  • Marina Ammendola
Each of the five judges serving in countywide vacancies pursuant to Supreme Court appointment (Claire Quish, Cecilia Horan, Elizabeth Karkula, Litricia Payne, and Marina Ammendola) are requesting Party support. The total number of countywide vacancies that will be on the March 2018 primary ballot is not yet known -- it likely will be more than five, but certainly many fewer than 28 -- and the actual number of vacancies won't be known when the Democratic Central Committee convenes in August for its formal slating meeting. (That's one reason why alternates are typically designated.) Although some of the sitting judges are likely to be endorsed by the Party, if history is any guide (and it usually is), not all will be slated.

Some of the candidates appearing for pre-slating may ultimately choose to run in subcircuits instead of countywide. Candidates who already know they will be seeking the Party's endorsement in subcircuit elections would not appear for the pre-slating meeting. Democratic in each subcircuit control slating for subcircuit vacancies. Many subcircuits will hold slating sessions; if and when information becomes available concerning these slating meetings, I will pass it along.

Jazzing with Judge Richardson fundraiser on Friday, July 7

Supporters of Judge Travis Richardson's 2nd Subcircuit election bid are planning a combination birthday celebration and fundraiser for their candidate on Friday, July 7, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., at The eXcel Center, 8236 S. Western Avenue.

The suggested donation for the event, billed as "an evening of cool jazz on a hot night," is $25. Listed hosts for the event are 21st Ward Ald. Howard Brookins, County Commissioner Stanley Moore (4th Dist.), and 27th Dist. State Rep. Justin Slaughter. For more information about the fundraiser, or to reserve tickets, call (312) 296-3453.

July 13 Campaign Kickoff set for Judge John A. O'Meara

Supporters of Judge John A. O'Meara's election bid in the 4th Subcircuit are planning a campaign kickoff fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, July 13, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m., at 312 Chicago, 136 N. LaSalle Street.

Tickets for the event are $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Bronze - $250, Silver - $500, Gold - $1,000). For more information, or to reserve tickets, see this Facebook events page or this page on the candidate's campaign website.