Friday, October 16, 2015

Patrick D. John announces 7th Subcircuit judicial bid

A post here yesterday prompted an email from Patrick D. John, an attorney with the Barclay Law Group, who wrote to advise that he is planning a run for the Rivkin-Carothers vacancy in the 7th Subcircuit. His note advises that, "to the best of my knowledge, I'm currently the only Black male in the race in the 7th right now." John has no campaign website yet, but there is a Facebook page. He has been licensed as an Illinois attorney since 1998, according to ARDC, and his firm bio notes that he started his law school career while still serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. "One of his legal passions," the Barclay firm bio notes, "is helping military veterans who are denied disability benefits receive the payments they’ve earned for serving their country."

John framed his note to FWIW yesterday as an introduction, saying that he'd been following posts here about the 7th Subcircuit vacancies and, in particular, the comments regarding Judge Pat Spratt, whom the Supreme Court recently appointed to the Rivkin-Carothers vacancy. I quote a portion of his email:
I met Judge Spratt briefly, and she seemed to be a very nice lady. Very professional and gracious-I have no problem with her personally. In fact, I have no reason to believe that wouldn't be a fine judge. Nor do I have any reason to believe that her judicial decisions will be tempered in any way by those who donate to her campaign. But all that is the beside the point.

I think the obvious elephant in the room is the issue of race, not prior party affiliation or her husband's judicial history. The sub-circuits were created in large part to make it easier for more Blacks and Hispanics to become judges. There are Black and Hispanic candidates who would also make fine judges, who are being denied the opportunity that the sub-circuit system was designed to give us. The sub-circuit system was designed in large measure to allow us to become judges, and to do so with minimal control from those who live outside our communities. Our nation has been plagued by racism for centuries. Things have gotten better for Blacks in so many ways over the years, but there is still much room for improvement in several arenas. The justice system being chief amoung them. The mere fact that in a city as racially diverse as Chicago, we can go so long without a single Black male federal judge should give us pause. Of the 10 judges in the 7th currently, there is only 1 Black male, yet there are are 2 White males.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a hypocrite! He plays the race card in regards to Judge Spratt yet he sees no issue running against the African-American female slated candidate. Messy, messy Mr. John.

Anonymous said...

The slated black female is going to be found not qualified and not recommended by every bar association because of her paucity of experience.

Another black female is circulating for the Rivkin-Carothers vacancy though - Mable Taylor, who was removed from the ballot in 2014 (Robert Kuzas won the spot unopposed after her removal)

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Leyhane, I applaud your decision to publish the email that Mr. John sent to your office. In doing so I am sure that you knew it would it would draw negative comments. So here is my negative comment: I find it absolutely incredible and appalling that Mr. Ford states that Judge Spratt is gracious, professional, very nice, and has no reason to believe that she would not be a fine judge; then says: "But all that is beside the point". NO MR. JOHN, THAT IS THE POINT !!! What is your point? Vote for you because you are the only black male in the race? Get real. The 7th Subcircuit is as white as it is black. Subcircuits were not legislated into existence to exclude all races and ethnicities in favor of just one. Your email to Mr. Leyhane is a clear insight as to how you think. There is no place on the Bench for someone that thinks like you. By the way, Spratt was appointed by a black Supreme Court Justice that did not exclude her from the position because of the color of her skin.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 19:00 is out of line. Mr. John makes a valid point.

Jeff Janulis said...

Bad form to post private e-mail

Jack Leyhane said...

Anon 3:19 p.m. -- Don't assume that I published Mr. John's email with an intent to provoke negative comments. I published the email because Mr. John sent it to me as a way of introducing himself as a candidate. (And, aside to Mr. Janulis, thank you for leaving a name -- but nothing about the email suggested it was to be a private communication. I get some of those, and there is a difference. Moreover, I have a notice on the blog Sidebar which says, in relevant part, "I reserve the right to publish, in whole or part, any e-mails sent to this blog." The notice has been there so long, I was still spelling email with a hyphen when I wrote it.)

And, Anon, I think you are engaging in, at the very least, revisionist history when you assert, "Subcircuits were not legislated into existence to exclude all races and ethnicities in favor of just one."

Actually, subcircuit boundaries were intentionally drawn to put more African-American judges, and Jewish judges, Hispanic judges, and -- believe it or not -- Republican judges on the bench. The problem is the boundaries are the same as they were when they were drawn (circa 1990) but the populations within some of these subcircuits are no longer quite as homogeneous as they once were. I haven't made a demographic study, but I'd guess the 7th Subcircuit has changed as much as any, mainly because of near West Side redevelopment.

I can appreciate, Anon, that some aspects of Mr. John's message might make you uncomfortable, but Mr. John is not wrong to invoke the historic intent and purpose of subcircuits in his appeal to the electorate. Whether the message will resonate with the increasingly diverse electorate in the 7th Subcircuit is for the voters to decide.

Anonymous said...

So help me understand this ........ Is Mr. John saying that he is running for Judge to prevent, God forbid, a qualified but otherwise white woman from being elected Judge; and in doing so he is upholding the legislative intent of the subcircuit system? How ludicrous. There is no argument that the legislative intent of subcircuits was to allow residents of a particular delineated area to elect "Resident Judges" who racially mirror that of the particular electorate. There was, however, no intent to restrict the racial make-up of actual candidates. Imagine if there were. Whites and Hispanics restricted, and only African Americans allowed to run in the 1st, 5th and 7th. Conversely, African Americans not allowed in the other 12 subcircuits. Thankfully, in each suncircuit anyone may be a candidate and it is the duty of the electorate to decide. No matter the races, it is unacceptable for a judicial candidate to say of another candidate "the obvious elephant in the room is the issue of race" as Mr. John has done. Very racist statement.

Anonymous said...

Close attention must be kept when candidates come along who adopt platforms that are based on the premise that electing an African-American, is somehow more beneficial to the African-American community than electing a White or Hispanic. Or, Electing a Hispanic is more beneficial to the Hispanic community than electing an African-American or a White. Such selfless dedication to one's community. I'm sure the FY 2016 judicial salary of $190,758 has little to do with one of these candidates decision to run.

Taken at his word, Mr. Ford states he cares deeply about his community and the election of African-Americans to the Bench. How perplexing it is then that the State Board of Elections reflects that Mr. Ford has not contributed a single dime to support even one African-American candidate seeking the Bench. Mr. Ford has raised the issue of who is supporting Judge Spratt, yet I find it far more revealing to note Mr. Ford's non-existent support of African-American judicial candidates. Real support of one's community is selflessly helping others within the community to advance. It is not spewing empty racial rhetoric and personally enriching themselves by landing $190,758 a year jobs.

Anonymous said...

Why can I never get an opponent who writes my campaign mail piece for me?

Can you imagine if a white candidate in the 8th sub said these things about an African American candidate who happened to be a sitting judge?

Mr. John's statements are as shocking as they are offensive.

Anonymous said...

In public politics, all are entitled to their own opinions, offense, etc. as to statements and releases from candidates. I feel that a one sided and overly negative picture is being portrayed of Patrick John. The people commenting on this thread may be surprised to know that Mr. John is an active member of the Decalogue Society anti-Semitism committee. As is often the case, many members sign up for committees and are notable only by their absence at meetings. In contrast, Mr. John is one of the more frequent attendees at the meetings. His contributions to our discussions and decision-making processes are real, sincere, thoughtful and valued. I doubt that he is making a big deal about this activity in his campaign (I am not involved in it), but I think it adds a bit more depth to the picture then we are seeing in this discussion. I do not mean to minimize the points made by others, or weigh in on the validity of such criticisms, but it seems to me that this is worth knowing as well.