Well... come to think of it, two other AJ finalists, Tom Cushing and Pat Heneghan, had also been rated "Highly Qualified" for the primary.
Was there a typo? I reached out to Pat Milhizer, Director of Communications for Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans' office -- and he assured me that, no, this was the information with which his office had been provided -- so I followed up with Therese Kurth, who coordinates judicial evaluation matters for the CBA.
If you've followed the comments, you already knew the answer, but Kurth provided me with chapter and verse: Sec. 26.1 of the Resolution governing the CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee:
As to each candidate for an office other than Associate Judge or for retention, the question shall be whether the candidate shall be found "HIGHLY QUALIFIED", "QUALIFIED," or "NOT RECOMMENDED." As to each candidate for the office of Associate Judge or for retention to any office, the question shall be whether the candidate shall be found “QUALIFIED” or “NOT RECOMMENDED”.There was no mistake.
|Carmel M. Cosgrave|
I mentioned that I'd recently seen an email from the CBA, looking for new recruits for the Investigation Division of the JEC. (Here's that commercial I promised: You, Dear Reader, can apply for membership on the JEC by downloading this form and returning it by April 8 to Therese Kurth at email@example.com or by fax to (312) 554-2054.)
I asked Cosgrave, is the CBA JEC hurting for members? One hears rumors, I told her. Not so, Cosgrave assured me. In fact, in the last two to three years, as the economy has improved, there's been a resurgence of interest in serving on the JEC, Cosgrave said. However, there are more candidates than ever, she added, and many candidates are coming forward who have not previously been investigated, meaning there are many more new investigations for the JEC to conduct. And, of course, retention season is almost upon us. However, many hands make light work.
Also, Cosgrave stressed, the CBA JEC is striving for diversification, looking not only for more variety in terms of ethnicity or gender but also experience. It would be helpful for more experienced lawyers to come forward, Cosgrave said, because so many JEC volunteers tend to be younger.
Applicants for the CBA JEC can some day run for judge -- and many JEC members have -- but persons serving on the JEC can not simultaneously seek judicial office. Section 17.5 of the JEC Resolution provides:
The Committee will automatically find without further investigation or hearing, a candidate "NOT RECOMMENDED" for a judicial office in a primary or general election if that candidate has participated in the evaluation of other judicial candidates for that same primary or general election.