I acknowledge the possibility that I'm a bit oversensitive -- but I thought I detected a degree of snark in the Tribune's comments about the retention election. After first urging readers to look at bar evaluations for the retention candidates, the editorial writer continued:
Typically, the bar groups identify a handful of egregiously incompetent judges. This year the Chicago Bar Association rated all 58 circuit court judges standing for retention "qualified." There are a smattering of negative ratings from the other groups -- the Council of Lawyers recommends a "no" vote on three -- but only one judge earned two negatives from among 12 bar groups. We asked around and could not find cause to single out any judge. If only this were the norm.We asked around and could not find cause to single out any judge? Because... we really wanted to single out somebody? Because we hate to say anything positive about the legal system?
But, like I said, I'm probably oversensitive.
In the races for the only five contested Cook County judicial vacancies, the Tribune recommends three Democrats and two Republicans. In the 13th Subcircuit, the Tribune recommends Judge Ketki "Kay" Steffen, the Democrat. In the 12th, the Tribune prefers Republicans James Leonard Allegretti and Steven A. Kozicki and Democrats Marguerite Quinn and Carrie Hamilton. Marguerite Quinn is an associate judge; Carrie Hamilton currently serves on the Circuit Court pursuant to Supreme Court appointment.
And interestingly, if perhaps unusually, the Tribune has nothing bad to say about any of the judicial candidates in 12 or 13.
But, do not despair, gentle reader. The Tribune has not gone soft.
The editorial begins with the stunning revelation that Republicans don't field candidates in most judicial races, "so the contests are generally decided in the [Democratic] primary." Captain Obvious has joined the Tribune editorial board. As revelations go, this one is surely on the order of Captain Renault's astounding 'discovery' in Casablanca as he closes Rick's Cafe, "I am shocked -- shocked -- to find that gambling is going on in here!"
For a "lesson in what's wrong with how Cook County's judges are chosen," the Tribune zeroes in on the Hopkins vacancy in the 1st Subcircuit, where Democratic nominee Rhonda Crawford was, until recently, unopposed. Recently, of course, Judge Maryam Ahmad (who lost a bid to hold her appointment to the 1st Subcircuit Brim vacancy in the March Primary) won a court battle to become a write-in candidate against Ms. Crawford. And the Tribune endorses Ahmad.
Of course, in none of the 27 other uncontested judicial races is the nominee accused of pretending to be a judge without waiting for the formality of an election or the administration of the oath of office. So why is l'affaire Crawford illustrative of "what's wrong with how Cook County's judges are chosen" instead of an aberration?
Also, as events later in the week would show, Mother Tribune's stern disapproval may be the least of Ms. Crawford's problems....