In other "news," the Sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning and set in the west tomorrow evening.
Here's the link to the Law Bulletin story (subscription required), if you haven't already seen it.
OK, there is one piece of news in the article: The number of associate judge vacancies at any given time usually ranks right up there with the Colonel's Secret Recipe or the formula for Coca-Cola as a closely guarded secret. Edward Snowden couldn't hack that number out of the court -- so the revelation that there are currently 13 vacancies does qualify as news.
But even that could change between now and the announcement. You never know when someone will hand in their papers.
I have, however, already been made aware that my evaluation of Thursday's Law Bulletin article is not the only one. A commenter to the post below said the associate judge non-announcement was the "biggest judicial news story of the week," and not only was it a big story, it was a sad one: "[I]t truly is a low point in recent Cook County court history," the commenter writes.
I just don't see that at all.
If I was running the Circuit Court, I'd wait until after the primary, too. Remember when the applicant list was first released, early last February? As reported here in FWIW, "15 current Cook County judges are among the 283 applicants for Cook County associate judge vacancies. Six, Jean M. Cocozza, Alison C. Conlon, Daniel P. Duffy, Rossana P. Fernandez, Aleksandra Nikolich Gillespie, and James L. Kaplan were appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to countywide vacancies. Eight others hold subcircuit appointments, Maryam Ahmad (1st), Jerry A. Esrig (9th), Edward John King (4th), Anna M. Loftus (6th), Marc William Martin (11th), Eve M. Reilly (10th), Robin D. Shoffner (5th), and Anthony E. Simpkins (1st). The 15th, Joan M. Kubalanza, is serving as an associate judge pursuant to a recall assignment; she became an associate judge in 1998, but left the bench in 1999."
Most of these are also running in the primary (Judge King, however, is the only one unopposed).
And, of the several former judges applying, one has since been returned to the bench by Supreme Court appointment.
Moreover, one prior AJ finalist has been since been appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court. Judge Patricia "Pat" S. Spratt was among the applicants last year who was not a former judge or finalist; but she, too, has since been appointed to the bench.
Anyone running a business -- any business -- wants to get qualified employees into all open positions. Every one of these applicants now has a track record as a judge -- and his or her supervisors have been able to form opinions about the merits of these individuals based on actual judicial performance and not on projections of what we think a person may be like if he or she becomes a judge.
So -- if I were running the Circuit Court -- I would have some fixed and definite opinions about which of these judges I would really want to keep. I also know that there a great many really good applicants who haven't had the opportunity to show themselves in judicial harness. So I'd wait until after the primary, too, and see who survives that process, to see who I need to put on AJ list or how deep into the prospect list I can dip.
There may be ways to 'blame' this delay on Mike Madigan, Rahm Emanuel, Toni Preckwinkle, Donald Trump, or fluoridated water, too, but I see this as just a rational management plan to maximize the chances of obtaining the best possible personnel for the workplace.
Go ahead, readers, tell me why I'm naive and foolish. Persuade me different. But that's my opinion now.
Full Disclosure: I withdrew from the current AJ process some time back. I no longer enjoy the unanimous confidence of the screening bar associations. I got most of 'em -- but most of 'em is not all of them. Under those circumstances, I bowed out.
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