The Illinois Committee for Honest Government has announced its endorsements in judicial races.
In an email to FWIW, ICHG elaborated on several of the organization's choices.
For the Supreme Court, ICHG endorses Aurelia Pucinski. Calling her "the most independent of all of the candidates," ICHG says it agrees "with Judge Pucinski's proposal to take the Democratic Party out of judicial slating and to make judicial elections non-partisan."
ICHG states that "Joy Virginia Cunningham would be a good Supreme Court Justice," adding that she "has excellent private sector experience and has an excellent intellect. However, we are concerned about the politics of her first run for judge and political intimidation by Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. in that race."
ICHG states "that Mary Jane Theis is too beholden to politicians" and says it is "concerned about the influence being exerted to elect her. We are also concerned about untrue statements and misrepresentations in her campaign literature about Aurelia Pucinski."
Although the ICHG said "Mathias William Delort is an excellent candidate" and "a very intelligent person with a strong knowledge of the law," ICHG's endorsement for the Cahill vacancy on the Appellate Court went to James Michael McGing. "We are impressed with Judge James McGing's fairness and demeanor," ICHG states. P. Scott Neville, Jr. was "strongly endorsed" for the Gallagher vacancy on the Appellate Court.
ICHG also struggled with its choice in the countywide Ward vacancy. "Alfred M. Swanson, Joan Marie Kubalanza, and Peter J. Vilkelis are all good candidates," ICHG stated, ultimately giving "the narrow edge" to Peter J. Vilkelis.
The ICHG also made a couple of specific, strongly worded non-endorsements. Although she's faces no opposition in her bid for the 'A' vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit, the ICHG declined to endorse Laura Liu. Liu is married to election attorney Michael Kasper. The ICHG criticizes Kasper as a foe of ballot access and "being an attack dog for unqualified candidates who are lap dogs for the establishment." The ICHG says it is concerned about elevating the spouses "of politically connected people."
Also strongly criticized was unopposed 3rd Subcircuit candidate Daniel R. Degnan (Moore vacancy). "Daniel R. Degnan is UNQUALIFIED with NO EXPERIENCE and is NOT ENDORSED," the ICHG writes (caps in original). "The Illinois Committee for Honest Government (ICHG) condemns the deals that made Daniel R. Degnan the only and the slated candidate. Daniel R. Degnan is the face of judicial reform."
On the positive side, in subcircuit races, ICHG stressed that Michael Ian Bender was strongly endorsed for the Bender vacancy in the 9th Subcircut, but "on his own merits and not because of family connections."
A complete list of the ICHG's judicial endorsements in contested judicial races follows.
Illinois Supreme Court
Illinois Appellate Court
Cahill Vacancy - James Michael McGing
Gallagher Vacancy - P. Scott Neville, Jr.
O'Brien Vacancy - Jesse G. Reyes
Cook County Circuit Court (Countywide)
Conlon Vacancy - Stanley L. Hill, Sr.
Kinnaird Vacancy - Erica L. Reddick
O'Brien Vacancy - Cynthia Ramirez
O'Mara Frossard Vacancy - Diann Karen Marsalek
Pucinski Vacancy - Edward J. Maloney
Simmons, Jr. Vacancy - Jessica A. O’Brien
Stewart Vacancy - Pamela M. Leeming
Ward Vacancy - Peter J. Vilkelis
Cook County Circuit Court (Subcircuit)
2nd Subcircuit (Stuttley Vacancy) - Chester Slaughter
3rd Subcircuit (McGann Vacancy) - Scott Edward Lipinski
4th Subcircuit (Riley Vacancy) - William "Gomo" Gomolinski
6th Subcircuit (Delgado Vacancy) - Beatriz Santiago
7th Subcircuit (Starks Vacancy) - Roxanne L. Rochester
7th Subcircuit (Toney Vacancy) - Arthur P. Wheatley
8th Subcircuit (Chiola Vacancy) - James A. Shapiro
8th Subcircuit (Cole Vacancy) - James L. Kaplan
8th Subcircuit (Durkin Roy Vacancy) - Nicholas Geanopoulos
9th Subcircuit (Bender Vacancy) - Michael Ian Bender
9th Subcircuit (Epstein Vacancy) - Abbey Fishman Romanek
11th Subcircuit (O'Brien Vacancy) - Maritza Martinez
11th Subcircuit (Urso Vacancy) - Lisa Ann Marino
12th Subcircuit (Rochford Vacancy) - Andrea M. Schleifer
13th Subcircuit (Pietrucha Vacancy) - Ketki "Kay" Steffen
According to its website, the Illinois Committee for Honest Government was founded in August 1986 by a group of individuals who sought to improve Illinois election procedures in the aftermath of the hijacking of the statewide Democratic ticket by unknown 'LaRouchies.' The ICHG began issuing endorsements or recommendations that year and in every election since. The ICHG website states, "The ICHG has not sought out to be a partisan agent in its endorsements. Rather, it has sought to support the best candidates possible, regardless of party label. In these endorsements, the ICHG has maintained a goal of seeking to support those who are willing to work with others, as the Committee does not believe that any one party or faction has a monopoly on good ideas."
Updated 3/15/12 to reflect addition of Chester Slaughter to list originally provided by ICHG
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