Friday, January 17, 2020

Seventh Subcircuit Candidate Forum Set for February 13


The South Austin Neighborhood Association (SANA) is sponsoring a forum for candidates seeking the Jackson vacancy in the 7th Subcircuit on Thursday, February 13, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Friendship Baptist Church, 5200 W. Jackson Blvd. Admission is free, but registration is requested (to register, follow the links in this invitation).

Retired Judge Marianne Jackson will moderate the event and will be honored at the event for her years of service and dedication to the Austin community.

All five candidates on the ballot to succeed Judge Jackson are invited to participate.

The five candidates are Pamela Reaves-Harris, Owens "Joe" Shelby, Marcia O'Brien Conway, Mable Taylor, and Kristen Marie Lyons.

The links in the preceding sentence are to the candidates' respective campaign websites, where known. I did not have a website listed for Pamela Reaves-Harris before; I've added it to the blog Sidebar.

Updated January 21 to provide link to Shelby website. The website was down when this post originally went up.

Four remain in the race for the countywide Murphy Gorman vacancy

With the recent removal of former Judge Elizabeth Anne Karkula from this race, four candidates remain for the countywide Murphy Gorman vacancy.

Judge Sheree Desiree Henry is the Democratic Party's slated candidate for this vacancy. That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Henry was appointed to this vacancy by the Illinois Supreme Court this past July.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1994, Henry worked as an Assistant Cook County Public Defender from 1999 until her appointment to the bench. Before joining the PD's office, from 1995-1999, Henry served as an Assistant Public Guardian in the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office. Henry also served eight years in the Illinois National Gaurd. She was a candidate for a 2nd Subcircuit vacancy in the 2018 primary.

Also in the race is Keely Patricia Hillison. Hillison has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1985. She currently practices law with Keely Hillison Law LLC. Hillison was a candidate for a countywide vacancy in 2018. Her 2018 campaign website is still online, but has not yet been updated.

When Hillison ran last time out, one of her opponents was Assistant State's Attorney Amanda Pillsbury.

And, oddly enough, Amanda "Mandy" Pillsbury is a candidate for this vacancy, too. That's a link to Pillsbury's campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the blog Sidebar.

Pillsbury was one of 10 alternates pre-slated by the Cook County Democratic Party for countywide vacancies that never opened (she was 9th of 10).

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2004, Pillsbury's campaign bio notes that she grew up on Chicago's Northwest Side, attending St. Francis Borgia grammar school and Mother Theodore Guerin High School. (Mother Gurerin, now Guerin Prep, just announced this week that it is closing.) Pillsbury, her husband, and their four children now reside in Western Springs.

Last on the ballot in this race is Assistant Public Defender Dan Walsh.

Currently working on felony matters at the Maywood courthouse, Walsh has been with the Public Defender's Office for 15 years. Before that, Walsh worked for the State Appellate Defender. He began his legal career as a law clerk to former Judge Jennifer Duncan Brice. According to ARDC, Walsh has been licensed in Illinois since 2001. According to a campaign announcement received, Walsh is married and has a son in high school.

An objection to Walsh's candidacy was overruled yesterday by the Cook County Officers Electoral Board.

Walsh's campaign does not currently have a discernable online presence. I can find no campaign website and it looks this morning like a campaign Facebook page may have been taken down.

Balanoff withdraws from 8th Subcircuit race; Forti now unopposed

Dan Balanoff, who had filed for the Gubin vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit, withdrew his candidacy yesterday, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Pat Casey, who had also filed in that race, withdrew on January 3.

These withdrawals leave Judge Michael A. Forti -- who had been appointed to the Gubin vacancy in late 2018 -- unopposed in the March Democratic Primary. No Republican filed for the vacancy, so Judge Forti will almost certainly be sworn into that vacancy on the first Monday in December of this year.

Forti no longer holds that vacancy, however; he left it when he accepted selection as a Cook County Associate Judge.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Six current judicial candidates among the 15 associate judges chosen yesterday

Each of these six individuals who have filed in the Democratic primary is already a sitting Cook County Circuit Court judge.

In alphabetical order, these are Judges Marina E. Ammendola (appointed to, and currently running for, the countywide K. Sheehan vacancy), Fredrick H. Bates (appointed to, and currently running for, the 1st Subcircuit Brooks vacancy), Michael A. Forti (appointed to, and currently running for, the Gubin vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit), Celestina L. Mays (appointed to, and currently running as the Democratic Party's slated candidate for, the countywide Funderburk vacancy), Levander "Van" Smith, Jr. (appointed to, and currently running as the Democratic Party's slated candidate for, the countywide Larsen vacancy), and Daniel O. Tiernan (appointed to, and currently running for, the Lacy vacancy in the 14th Subcircuit).

Each of these judges faces the happy choice of deciding whether to continue their campaign for full circuit judge or whether to withdraw their candidacy now that they have been selected as associated judges.

If each were to continue their campaigns -- and ultimately win election -- a new round of associate judge selection would be automatically triggered. (Per Illinois Supreme Court Rule 39, Cook County is supposed to start a new selection round once there are five associate judge vacancies.)

Not all of the appointed judges on the associate judge short list were selected. Judge Lloyd James Brooks, appointed to, and currently running as the Democratic Party's slated candidate for, the countywide O'Brien vacancy, was passed over by his colleagues, as was Judge Tyria B. Walton. Of course, Judge Walton is presumably not too disappointed by this, inasmuch as she was the only candidate to file for what is being called the Crawford vacancy in the 1st Subcircuit, the seat to which the Supreme Court appointed her. Her path to election is virtually assured.

Another countywide slated candidate, albeit one who is not yet a judge, Laura Ayala-Gonzalez, was also not selected yesterday as an associate judge.

In fact, none of the three Hispanic candidates on this year's Short List made the final cut, a circumstance that the Puerto Rican Bar Association denounced as "disgraceful" in a press release issued last evening. John Seasly, in a post on Injustice Watch, quoted former Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois President Juan Morado, Jr. as saying the judges' failure to choose even one Hispanic associate judge was "a huge disappointment."

Interestingly, according to the Injustice Watch article, only seven of the 193 applicants who remained after the Nominating Committee concluded its interviews were Hispanic. Thirty percent of the applicants were "people of color," according to the Injustice Watch article, about the same percentage as on the Cook County bench in 2018.

Three former Presidents of the Cook County Bar Association were among those chosen in this class of associate judges (Bates, Mays, and John A. Fairman).

There were an unusually high number of persons on this year's Short List (11) who'd been finalists before (10 from last year's class; one, Judge Forti, from the 2014 list). Seven of those 11, including Forti, were successful this year.

----------------------------------------
Updating to add a link to the Illinois Supreme Court's press release on the new class of associate judges.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

DEVELOPING -- New class of associate judges announced

No ties. No write-ins. More later. Here's the list:
  1. Amee Elizabeth Alonso
  2. Marina E. Ammendola
  3. Frank John Andreou
  4. Fredrick Hayze Bates
  5. John Abbrey Fairman
  6. Michael Angelo Forti
  7. Michael James Hogan Jr.
  8. Celestia Laurene Mays
  9. Jennifer Joyce Payne
  10. Diane Marie Pezanoski
  11. Geri Pinzur Rosenberg
  12. Rouhy J. Shalabi
  13. John Anthony Simon
  14. Levander Smith Jr.
  15. Daniel Owen Tiernan

Whoa! There was a late-breaking vacancy in Cook County after all....

Very late.

On the morning of December 3, you know, after the close of the period from November 22 through December 2 when late-breaking vacancies are to be posted for the Special Judicial Filing Period that starts December 16, I went to the Illinois Board of Election website and looked at, and linked to, the very short list of late judicial vacancies -- both far, far Downstate.

Due diligence, I thought.

But... lookie here, ladies and gents, the ISBE now advises of a third vacancy in my home (10th) subcircuit.

My thanks to an aggrieved, anonymous commenter who complained that s/he saw petitions being circulated at Union Station on December 3 for a vacancy that did not go up on the ISBE website until December 4.

This looks bad. It makes all of us who are engaged in the process, as candidates or even as observers, look bad.

And whoever tried to steal a march on this super-duper late-breaking entry has just handed a gift-wrapped campaign issue to any challengers.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Do signature requirements really chill candidate participation in Cook County judicial primaries?

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, there are currently 45 candidates seeking one of the 13 countywide vacancies in Cook County. Sixty-three other candidates are vying for one of the 20 Cook County subcircuit vacancies. Some of these hopefuls will withdraw, others may be removed from the ballot after challenges.

This surprises me.

Why? Well, though much has been made about the onerous requirement of 3,322 valid signatures to qualify as a countywide judicial candidate in next year's Democratic primary, there are 3.46 candidates for each countywide vacancy -- and only 3.15 candidates for each subcircuit vacancy. It takes only 1,000 signatures to qualify as a subcircuit candidate. One might think, therefore, that there would be more subcircuit candidates per vacancy than countywide candidates per vacancy. That does not seem to be the case this year.

Since challenges are coming for a number of these hopefuls (or, as one persistent, and usually unpublished, commenter keeps saying, "Winter is coming") these ratios may be different when the dust settles.

So I decided to look at recent history to compare candidate numbers.

According to the ISBE, there were 26 candidates seeking one of 10 countywide vacancies in the 2018 Primary -- 2.6 candidates per vacancy. Eighty-four candidates sought one of 29 subcircuit vacancies in 2018 -- 2.89 candidates per vacancy. Subcircuit filing requirements were the same in 2018 as in this cycle, but there were 3,758 signatures required to run countywide in the 2018 Democratic primary.

That's actually worse than this year.

Signature requirements were much less in 2016 -- there was a very low turnout in the 2014 general election; it took only 2,233 signatures to reach the Democratic primary ballot in 2016.

So... logically... there should have been lots more judicial candidates in 2016, at least countywide, right?

Wrong.

Only 25 candidates pursued 11 countywide vacancies in 2016, 2.27 candidates per vacancy. Fifty-six candidates sought 22 subcircuit vacancies in 2016, or 2.54 candidates per subcircuit vacancy.

It took 3,263 signatures to qualify for the Democratic primary as a countywide judicial candidate in Cook County in 2014. Only 21 candidates qualified as candidates for one of the 11 countywide vacancies that year, 1.91 candidates per vacancy. Forty-seven hopefuls sought one of 15 Cook County subcircuit vacancies that year, 3.13 candidates per vacancy.

In 2012, a countywide judicial candidate needed 2,403 signatures to qualify for the Democratic primary. Thirty-two candidates qualified to run for 11 countywide vacancies that year (2.91 candidates per vacancy), while 70 candidates filed for one of the 23 subcircuit vacancies (3.04 candidates per vacancy).

Signature requirements were usually lower in presidential primary years -- because requirements are based on the number of votes cast for the countywide Democratic judicial candidate receiving the highest number of votes in the preceding general election. In Illinois, as elsewhere, turnout is usually lower in non-presidential years than in presidential years. So the high number of signatures required this year is high compared to numbers required in 2016 and 2012, but this year's qualifying number is by no means unprecedented.

So, apparently, at least in recent history, just as in the numbers so far for 2020, there is no great difference in the number of countywide candidates per vacancy vis a vis the number of subcircuit candidates per vacancy. The largest discrepancy was in 2014, a year in which the Cook County Democratic Party did a remarkable job of staving off challengers to about half of its countywide ticket and carrying five of the six contested races.

Signature requirements do not seem to keep wannabes from entering countywide judicial contests.

Conversely, despite lower signature requirements, subcircuit vacancies are not more attractive to candidates than countywide ones. I do not know why this seems to be true. Do you?

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Congratulations to the unopposed....

Barring something completely unforeseen, Judge Lynn Weaver Boyle (pictured at left) will be sworn in to the countywide Patti vacancy on the first Monday in December 2020, the vacancy in which she now serves pursuant to Supreme Court appointment.

No one filed to run against Weaver Boyle in the Democratic Primary; no Republican filed for any countywide vacancy.

Weaver Boyle is the only countywide judicial candidate with an uncontested path to election next year. Pending ballot withdrawals or challenges, there are contests in every other countywide judicial race.

There are also three subcircuit judicial appointees who also have no opponent in March.

Judge Tyria B. Walton is unopposed in the 1st Subcircuit, for what is being called the Crawford vacancy. By way of contrast, three candidates filed against Judge Fredrick H. Bates for the Brooks vacancy in the 1st Subcircuit, including former Judge Litricia Payne.

In the 3rd Subcircuit, eight candidates filed for the Flynn vacancy and two for the Murphy vacancy. No one, however, filed for the Filan vacancy, where Judge Daniel Edward Maloney now sits pursuant to Supreme Court appointment.

Judge John G. Mulroe has an uncontested path to fill the 10th Subcircuit Allen vacancy that he now holds by appointment.

No Republican filed for any of these subcircuit vacancies.

Of the four Republicans who filed in Subcircuits 12, 13, and 15, Frank R. DiFranco has an uncontested path to the Republican nomination in the 12th Subcircuit -- but he will presumably face the winner of a three-way contest for the Democratic nomination. Judge Patricia M. Fallon currently fills this vacancy by appointment.

In the 15th Subcircuit, La Vetta D. Williams will be unopposed in the Republican primary for the 15th Subcircuit vacancy now filled by Judge Nichole C. Patton. Judge Patton drew one primary opponent, so Williams will have to face either Patton or Heather Mulligan Begley next November.

Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up....

So much has happened... and hasn't happened....

I suppose the headline is supposed to be that Appellate Court Justice Nathaniel R. Howse filed for the Supreme Court vacancy, late yesterday afternoon, just as the filing deadline for the regular judicial filing period closed. John Seasly has a post up this morning on Injustice Watch, "Diversity at stake in competitive Illinois Supreme Court race."

But there are a couple of other headlines from yesterday that may be as significant.

First, there are no new Cook County judicial vacancies. Despite a bevy of rumors, some of them quite gruesome, the Illinois State Board of Elections has posted no new Cook County judicial vacancies for the special judicial filing period later this month. No one seriously expected vacancies to open up for each of the 10 alternates pre-selected by the Cook County Democratic Party -- but the call never came for any of them.

And, second, while there are eight candidates preparing to slug it out for the Democratic nomination for the Freeman vacancy on the Illinois Supreme Court, not one Republican filed for that vacancy.

I realize that seven other candidates have very different outcomes in mind... but, in a crowded field, assuming all the candidates who filed remain on the ballot, there is a chance that a candidate who has been licensed as an attorney for only four years might be the Democratic Party's nominee for the Illinois Supreme Court. This is not to suggest or imply anything against Mr. Epstein personally... I've met him... and he seems like a perfectly nice person. And he has a very interesting background and some carefully-formed ideas about the justice system, whether you agree with them or not. But four years experience as an attorney? If nominated and elected, Justice Epstein would almost certainly have clerks who have longer legal experience. One would have thought that the Republicans would have scrounged up a candidate somehow... just in case Epstein emerges as the Democratic nominee.

But, no.

And, once again, no Republican filed for either Cook County Appellate Court vacancy, or any countywide vacancy.

Only four Republicans filed for three subcircuit vacancies, Frank R. DiFranco in the 12th Subcircuit, Gary William Seyring and Angel Garcia in the 13th Subcircuit (the one and only judicial race in which Republican primary voters will have a choice of judicial candidates), and La Vetta D. Williams in the 15th Subcircuit.

The two-party system, however healthy it may be in other parts of this fair land of ours, is dead as a doornail in Cook County. (And, yet, how many local candidates will try and make it seem as if they are running against Donald J. Trump?)

Getting back to work....

Posts will resume here today.

Family matters have overwhelmed my time of late, but I expect, or at least hope, to be able to get back to work -- and blogging, too -- as quickly as possible.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Six challengers file to unseat Justice Neville

Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr. sits on the Illinois Supreme Court now, appointed by that court to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Charles E. Freeman. Neville's bid to remain on the Supreme Court has won the endorsement of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Neville's petitions were the first received this morning at the Illinois State Board of Elections office in Springfield.

Six other candidates also filed petitions this morning for the Freeman vacancy.

Next up to the counter was Daniel Epstein, a former associate with Jenner & Block. He has been licensed to practice law in Illinois for only four years, since 2015, according to ARDC.

According to his campaign bio, Epstein had a career in "policy, politics, and government" before becoming a lawyer, working in the British House of Commons in 2005 on anti-bullying legislation and crafting "campaign strategy to combat a rising white nationalist party." He also worked in Washington, D.C. as the director of government relations "for a global provider of early childhood education," advocating "for subsidies and tax credits so that families could send their kids to high quality child care regardless of wealth."

But the truth of the matter is, though a prior career may make any candidate a better-rounded, more interesting person, neither the Chicago Bar Association nor any member of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening is likely to find Epstein remotely qualified for the Supreme Court. The bar groups demand 10 or even 12 years working as an attorney before a candidate would be considered for the Circuit Court. Every bar group says it has more stringent requirements for Appellate Court or Supreme Court hopefuls.

Epstein's campaign generated some early buzz when the candidate contributed $285,000 to his own campaign, thereby 'blowing' the contribution caps (the limitations on what individuals and businesses may give candidates) in this race. And Epstein has generated a following among self-proclaimed progressives. To cite just one example, Epstein's website boasts the endorsement of Jon Loevy of Loevy & Loevy.

Illinois Appellate Court Justice Shelly A. Harris was a special education teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, putting himself through law school at night, according to his campaign bio.

After more than 30 years as an attorney, working first for Legal Aid, then in divorce and domestic relations matters, and finally in personal injury and medical malpractice cases, Harris was appointed to the Circuit Court bench. In 2010, Harris was appointed to the Appellate Court (one quarter of the 24 justices of the First District Appellate Court are Circuit Court judges sitting pursuant to Supreme Court appointment). Harris ran for, and won, an elected seat on the appellate bench in the 2014 election.

Appellate Court Justice Margaret Stanton McBride also filed her nominating petitions this morning.

McBride has served on the Appellate Court since 1998. She began her judicial career in 1987, winning election to the Circuit Court in 1990. McBride has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1976. She spent most of her legal career, prior to her elevation to the bench, as a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney.

Appellate Court Justice Cynthia Y. Cobbs has also filed for the Freeman vacancy.

Elected to the Circuit Court in 2014, Cobbs was assigned to the Appellate Court in January 2015.

Cobbs began her judicial career in 2011, when the Illinois Supreme Court appointed her to a countywide vacancy. She was thereafter appointed to a different vacancy in late 2012. It was to that latter vacancy that she was subsequently elected.

Cobbs started her legal career in 1989 as a law clerk, and later chief law clerk, to Supreme Court Justice Charles E. Freeman. She joined the AOIC in 1997, becoming Chief Legal Counsel for the Administrative Office within two years. Cobbs was initially appointed Director of the AOIC in March 2002. Cobbs served under five Chief Justices, the second longest tenure in that office since it was established in 1960.

Class action litigator Clint Krislov has no campaign website yet (none that I could find, anyway) but he does have a Facebook campaign page.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1974, Krislov practices with Krislov & Associates, Ltd., or Krislov Law, as the website calls the firm. The website describes the firm as "class Action lawyers asserting consumer, investor and taxpayer rights, whistleblower and public interest cases." I believe this is his first run for judicial office, though he applied for associate judge in 2017.

Appellate Court Justice Jesse G. Reyes was the seventh and last candidate in line for this vacancy when the doors to the ISBE opened this morning.

Justice Reyes was elected to the Appellate Court in 2012. He was appointed an associate judge in 1997, winning election as a circuit judge in 2008.

Before becoming a judge, Reyes worked in private practice, doing personal injury and worker's compensation cases. He then moved to the City of Chicago’s Corporation Counsel Office before joining the law department of the Chicago Board of Education.

Because each of these candidates was in line when the doors opened this morning at the ISBE, they are all eligible for a lottery to determine ballot order.

A slew of Cook County judicial candidates filed nominating petitions this morning

Candidate filing began this morning for the March 2020 Primary election and all those waiting in line to file at 8:00 a.m. when the doors opened are deemed to have filed at the exact same moment.

That means -- petition challenges and candidate withdrawals for any other reasons notwithstanding -- that the seven candidates for the 1st District Supreme Court vacancy and the six candidates for the two 1st District Appellate Court vacancies who were in line when the doors opened this morning all have an equal chance at the top ballot position in their race.

The top ballot line does confer some statistical advantage according to experts; in a crowded field, it may make the difference between victory and defeat.

Family business prevents me from delving further into the candidate filings at the moment. I will catch up as soon as possible.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Campaign website under construction, Dec. 9 kickoff even for Judge Tom Cushing

The updating of the campaign website is not yet complete -- and there is still some proofreading and polishing to be done on the updated portions -- but the renovations clearly are underway as of this writing, so I've added Judge Thomas M. Cushing's campaign website to the blog Sidebar.

In the meantime, Cushing's campaign has announced a campaign kickoff on Monday, December 9, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Firehouse Grill, 750 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. There is no set ticket price, but, unsurprisingly, donations are appreciated -- and the campaign website is sufficiently updated that contributions can be accepted though the site.

County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty, Committeeman Eamon Kelly, and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart are the listed hosts for this event.

For more information about the event, or to reserve your place, email Abby at amwrausch@gmail.com.

Cushing was appointed to a countywide vacancy earlier this year. He ran for a countywide vacancy in 2016 and a 9th Subcircuit vacancy in 2014.

More on Interfaith Illinois -- a little more, anyway


As the Bible says, ask and ye shall receive.

That seems an apt way to start an updated post about Interfaith Illinois, a group that was among the sponsors of breakfast meet and greet this morning for Cook County judicial candidate Marcia O'Brien Conway. The photos accompanying this post came from that event.

In a post yesterday, I noted that I could not find a current website or Facebook page for Interfaith Illinois. I couldn't find any indication that it functions as a PAC per the Illinois State Board of Elections website, nor is there a listing for any Interfaith Illinois, Inc. on the Secretary of State's website. I asked if FWIW readers could supply any information about the group.

A reader was quick to send me this link to an article on the West Suburban Journal website, from the 2018 election, showing Interfaith Illinois as a sponsor of a meet and greet with then-gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker.

Bishop Dr. Claude Porter was cited in the non-bylined post as the "chairman of Interfaith Illinois, Inc." Porter is also the Chairman of the Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action, Inc., an organization he founded in 1968, according to this September 11, 2019 interview by Mike Sandrolini on the PositivelyProviso.com website.

The Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action (PLCCA) does have a current website -- but it quite clearly states that a new one is coming soon -- and the listed email address no longer works either. (I had hoped to reach Bishop Dr. Porter via an email to PLCCA, asking whether Interfaith Illinois might be sponsoring other judicial candidate meet and greets in the future -- but the email bounced back.)

I will provide additional information when and if I stumble across it.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Conway free breakfast meet and greet tomorrow

This appears to be the kind of event that I say I will publicize -- but I very seldom get the chance to do so.

Marcia O'Brien Conway is appearing at a breakfast meet and greet tomorrow morning, Saturday, November 23, at 9:30 a.m., at the Greater Rock Missionary Baptist Church, 718 S. Independence.

Persons interested in attending are asked to email info@marciaobrienconway.com to RSVP or to obtain more information. I reproduce a poster touting the event herewith.


This appears to be an event designed to give actual voters a chance to meet a real candidate and to hear her perspective, at least, about what judges do and their importance in our system.

Voter education.

And let me take this opportunity to remind readers that I am pleased to do more than give notice of candidate fundraisers. I will publicize meet and greets like this one for any candidate who asks. I would particularly like to publicize candidate forums where multiple candidates, especially competing candidates, are invited to appear. Please give me as much advance notice as you can because, due to work or family concerns, I can not always put up events immediately. Church groups, school groups, garden clubs, and neighborhood associations, please copy.

However... in looking at this poster, I was struck by the logo in the lower right-hand corner: Interfaith Illinois.

If this were a full-time, professional venture instead of an often haphazard amateur service project, I would be able, perhaps, to tell you what Interfaith Illinois is.

A lot of groups with significant-sounding names pop up during election season like dandelions in the Spring. Some come back for another cycle or two; many burst on the scene only once and then fade away.

A little Internet sleuthing today shows a website that may be related -- but it hasn't been updated in a half dozen years or so. There is a Facebook page, too, and it uses the same logo as on this poster -- but the last entries on this page are from 2014. I couldn't find a corporate listing for Interfaith Illinois on the Secretary of State's website and I could not find any political action committee with that name on the ISBE website.

Professional researchers like Frank Calabrese might scoff at the limitations of my detective skills. I can live with that.

I'm reaching out to the Conway campaign this morning to see if they can provide any more information about Interfaith Illinois. I'll update this post as necessary if I hear anything back. Meanwhile, if any of you smart readers out there can enlighten me on this, please send me an email at jackleyhane@yahoo.com or leave a comment. If I can run this one down, I will update.

Thanks.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

No new Cook County Judicial vacancies in last ISBE list of judicial vacancies for the regular filing period

No new Cook County Judicial vacancies are included in the list of judicial vacancies posted today by the Illinois State Board of Elections on its website.

The list, linked above, covers all vacancies posted through November 10. Filing for these vacancies begins Monday in Springfield and ends on December 2.

There will be a Special Judicial Filing Period, from December 16 to December 23, for any judicial vacancies occurring between November 11 and December 2.

That's a very small window.

Vacancies occurring after December 2 will no be filled, except by temporary appointment, until 2022.

A vacancy occurs when a judge gives notice of an intent to leave office -- regardless of the judge's planned departure date. To illustrate: A judge plans to retire on March 31, 2020, but sends in the required notice today. The vacancy exists for the Special Judicial Filing Period. However, if a judge plans to retire on December 31, but does not send in the required notice until December 3, that vacancy will not be filled in the 2020 election. Even though the second judge leaves office before the first judge, the first judge's vacancy is filled during the upcoming election, but the second judge's vacancy will not be filled until the 2022 election.

At this point, none of the persons slated this past Summer as alternates by the Cook County Democratic Party have a vacancy for which they are endorsed. That could change if vacancies open up during the dates covered by the Special Judicial Filing Period -- but only for those alternates who have not, in the meantime, filed to run against a slated candidate. (One or more alternates may emerge as subcircuit candidates, with Democratic Party support from the committeemen in that subcircuit -- but that remains to be seen.)

Meanwhile, according to anonymous comments left in my comment queue, about a quarter of the sitting judges in Cook County are rumored to have put in their papers, including just about everyone on the Appellate Court not already running for the Supreme Court. The reason I am not posting these comments is that I have no reason to believe that any of them are true. I will take the risk that one of these speculations may ultimately prove to be true. If any new vacancies are confirmed, I will try to get that information posted promptly.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Former Judge Elizabeth Karkula seeks return to the bench as a write-in candidate for Associate Judge

Former Judge Elizabeth Karkula is asking her former colleagues to return her to the bench via a write-in campaign for Cook County Associate Judge.

Like 162 other disappointed applicants, including several former judges, Karkula was left off the 2019 Short List from which the next class of associate judges will presumably be chosen.

The key word in the preceding sentence is "presumably."

The electors -- the full Cook County Circuit judges -- are not technically bound by the Short List. Although the overwhelming majority of associate judges are chosen from the finalists' lists, the circuit judges can vote for anyone who applied for the job -- and, in 2014, and again in 2016, the judges went outside the those Short Lists and selected a write-in. However, in 2014 and 2016, the write-ins chosen were currently serving judges who'd lost in their respective primary elections.

Elizabeth Karkula's appointment expired in December of last year. She was appointed to a countywide vacancy in early 2016.

Before her appointment to the bench, from 2009-2016, Karkula was a solo practitioner. From 2004-2009 she served as general counsel and corporate secretary of Geovique Specialties Holdings Corporation (f/k/a Velsicol Chemical Holdings Corporation). She has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1987, according to ARDC.

For more about this year's 30 Short List finalists see here, here, or here.

Fundraiser Friday for Yolanda Harris Sayre... at a locaton to be unmasked

"Unmasking Justice" is the name and theme of a fundraiser to be given by supporters of the judicial campaign of Yolanda Harris Sayre on Friday, November 22, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. at a "masked South Loop location."

Where exactly?

Organizers won't tell you -- until you buy a ticket.

Tickets are $75 each, but sponsorships are available ($100 - Donor, $250 - Friend, $500 - Supporter, $1,000 - Sponsor, $2,500 - Host, $5,000 - Co-Chair). Food will be provided, and "signature cocktails." Sounds will be provided by J. Imani. Tickets are available at this link.

Costumes are not required for this Masquerade Gala -- "just a sharp outfit and masks are optional," according to the organizers.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

ASA Jacqueline Griffin seeks judicial vacancy

Found on the Internet, the campaign website of Jacqueline Griffin. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the blog Sidebar.

Licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2005, according to ARDC, Griffin has spent her career in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. According to her campaign bio, Griffin currently serves as a trial specialist in the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Unit within the Felony Trial Division.

A native South Sider, now living in Bridgeport with her husband and two children, Griffin attended Mother McAuley High School. An FWIW source advises that Griffin is circulating for the countywide Funderburk vacancy.

Diversity Scholarship Foundation Unity Dinner set for December 3



The 2019 Diversity Scholarship Foundation Unity Dinner and is set for Tuesday, December 3 in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Hilton, 720 South Michigan Avenue. The Cocktail Reception begins at 5:00 p.m.; the dinner and program follows at 6:00 p.m. U.S. Dist. Ct. Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer will be honored with the Foundation's Unity Award Recipient at the event.

Since 2006, the Diversity Scholarship Foundation has provided scholarships and opportunities to law students of diverse backgrounds. The annual Unity Dinner serves as the main fundraiser for these scholarships.

A main component of the Unity Dinner is the ceremonial swearing-in of bar presidents. Bar presidents from organizations across the Seventh Circuit are provided with the opportunity to participate in reciting the “Oath of Unity” in which they pledge to promote diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. The bar presidents also participate in a “Parade of Bar Presidents” where they are introduced and congratulated for their efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion.

Individual tickets for the dinner are $150 each; tables of 10 are available for $1,500. To order tickets, click here.

December 4 fundraiser set for Marcia O'Brien Conway

Supporters of Marcia O'Brien Conway's judicial campaign are planning a fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, December 4, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m., at the offices of Wise Morrissey LLC, 161 N. Clark Street, 12th Floor.

Tickets for the event are $100 each, although government employees will be admitted for $50. Sponsorships are also available (Pewter - $250, Bronze - $500, Silver - $1,000, Gold - $2,500, Platinum - $5,800).

For more information, or to secure tickets, email rsvp@1833group.com.

James Patrick Crawley announces 10th Subcircuit bid

Chicago attorney James Patrick Crawley has announced his candidacy for Cook County Circuit Court Judge in the 10th Judicial Subcircuit.

Licensed in Illinois since 1990, according to ARDC, Crawley has nearly 30 years of experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in complex tort cases that resulted in catastrophic injury or death. He is currently an attorney with Kennedy & Associates, PC in Chicago where he primarily handles wrongful death, trucking and product liability litigation. Crawley has been a member of the trial bar for the U.S. Northern District of Illinois since 1990 and was sworn-in to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 2005.

Crawley is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago and Saint Louis University School of Law where he served on the editorial staff of the Saint Louis University Public Law Review. Crawley interned for United States Senator Paul Simon and Justice Myron H. Bright of the United States 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Crawley to its Judicial Evaluation and Performance Committee. Crawley also serves on the Commission for Access to Justice subcommittee charged with redesigning uniform statewide forms for use by pro se litigants. In recent years, he has participated in the Supreme Court’s mentoring program and as a volunteer peer counselor for the Lawyers Assistance Program. He was one of the founding board members of AIDS Care, Inc., one of the first residential living facilities in Chicago for people with AIDS, he also served on the board of directors for Jane Addams Hull House. For several years, he served on the LGBT Citizens Advisory Committee to the Chicago Police Department.

Crawley previously sought a countywide judicial vacancy in 2014 at which time he was found "qualified" or "recommended" by all screening bar association. He has applied on multiple occasions to be a Cook County Associate Judge.

Crawley is currently circulating petitions for two vacancies in the 10th Judicial Subcircuit. While he has also circulated petitions for a countywide vacancy, Crawley tells FWIW that his "primary focus" is on the 10th Subcircuit.

Crawley resides in Jefferson Park neighborhood with his spouse and two dogs.

Frank R. DiFranco plans 12th Subcircuit run

Park Ridge attorney Frank R. DiFranco is running for the 12th Subcircuit vacancy in the March 2020 Primary. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1987, according to ARDC, DiFranco began his legal career as an Assistant Cook County State's Attorney. In 1994, DiFranco founded DiFranco & Associates, P.C. and has practiced there since. According to his campaign bio, DiFranco has served as a member of the board of the Standing Tall Foundation, a charitable organization that provides scholarships to students in need, from grade school through college.

DiFranco resides in Park Ridge with his wife and three children, according his campaign bio.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Timothy Patrick Carter plans judicial bid

Found on the Internet, the campaign website of Timothy Patrick Carter. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Licensed in Illinois since 1995, according to ARDC, Carter currently practices with the firm of Carter & Opdycke.

Both Carter's campaign website and his firm website stress his lengthy experience in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office (he served as an ASA from 1995 to 2012, spending the bulk of that time, according to his campaign bio, in the Felony Trial Division).

A lifelong resident of the Chicago area, according to his campaign bio, Carter lives in Northfield with his wife and four children. He is a founding member and past president of the Northfield Bar Association.

Fundraiser Wednesday for Jill Rose Quinn

Supporters of Jill Rose Quinn's countywide judicial campaign have scheduled a fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, November 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Chicago offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson, 151 N. Franklin Street, 25th Floor.

Sponsors note that November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance, honoring those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence and discrimination. Quinn is the first transgender judicial candidate in Illinois.

Tickets for the event are $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Silver - $250, Gold - $500, Platinum - $1,000). For more information about the event, or to procure tickets, email Thom Karmik at tkarmik@gmail.com. Tickets are also available at this link.

Wednesday fundraiser for Eileen O'Connor

Supporters of Eileen O'Connor's 6th Subcircuit judicial bid have planned a fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, November 20, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at Stock and Ledger, 70 W. Madison.

The Committee sponsoring Wednesday's event includes Gerry Bekkerman, Margaret Battersby Black, Mike Bonamarte, Mark Brennan, Brad Cosgrove, Ben Crane, David Gubbins, Chris Hurley, Shawn Kasserman, Sarah King, Gera-Lind Kolarik, Rick Levin, Steve M. Levin, Steven R. Levin, Mark McKenna, Brian Murphy, Bob Napleton, Chris Norem, Conrad Nowak, Kevin O'Reilly, Paul O'Toole, Joe Parente, Robert Phillips, Antonio Romanucci, Carl Salvato, and Pat Salvi II.

Tickets are priced at $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Bronze - $250, Silver - $500, Gold - $1,000). For more information, or to secure tickets, email rsvp@1833group.com.

Fundraiser tomorrow for Chris Stacey

Jay Edelson and 47th Ward Committeeman Paul Rosenfeld are the listed hosts for a reception tomorrow evening, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Edelson PC, 350 N. LaSalle Street, 14th Floor, for countywide judicial candidate Chris Stacey.

Tickets for the event are $150 -- but sponsorships (for $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000) are also available.

For more information, or to reserve tickets, email cindy.lou.stacey@gmail.com or call (773) 991-4113.

Fundraiser tomorrow for Judge Levander "Van" Smith, Jr.

Assistant State Senate Majority Leader Don Harmon is listed as the host for a fundraiser tomorrow evening in support of the countywide judicial campaign of Judge Levander "Van" Smith, Jr.

The event will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, November 19, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at Stock and Ledger, 70 W. Madison.

Tickets are priced at $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Bronze - $500, Silver - $1,000, Gold - $2,500, Platinum - $5,000). For more information, or to secure tickets, email rsvp@1833group.com.

Friday, November 15, 2019

December 4 fundraiser set for Audrey Cosgrove

Supporters of Audrey Victoria Cosgrove's countywide judicial bid have scheduled a fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, December 4, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the offices of Foremost Strategy, 1439 W. Ardmore Ave.

Forty-eighth Ward Committeewoman Carol Ronen is listed as the host of the event. A weekend getaway in New Buffalo, Michigan will be auctioned off during the course of the evening.

Tickets for the event are $150 each, but sponsorships are available (Supporter - $250, Sponsor - $500, Chairman - $1,000). For more information about this event email john@foremoststrategy.com. Tickets are available at this link.

Fundraiser Monday for Brad Trowbridge

Supporters of Bradley R. Trowbridge's 8th Subcircuit campaign are planning a fundraiser for their candidate on Monday, November 18, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St.

Listed as Friends of Bradley R. Trowbridge for this event are Hon. Carol Ronen; Rick Garcia; Rocco Claps; Hon. Kevin Morrison; Ramesh Ariyanayakam; Bradley Baloff; Stella Black; Jorge Diaz; Ralph Fasano; Edward Gisiger; Helen Gutierrez; Art Johnston and Jose (Pepe} Pena; Mark Liberson and Rodney Becker; Dr. Michael Macken; Matthew Moeller; Reed & Centracchio; Mark Tisdahl; Walczak and Hernandez, PC; Denice Wolf Markham; The Women's Divorce Law Group; Adam Miel Zebelian; John Zmuda and Jhonmar Castillo; Ellen Meyers; and Jackie Richter.

Tickets are $50 each. Sponsorships are available (Supporter - $100, Advocate - $250). For more information about this event email john@foremoststrategy.com. Tickets are available at this link.

Looking more closely at the Short List finalists - Part 1

In this first part of a three-part series, FWIW begins its look at the finalists for Cook County Associate Judge. For Part 2 of this series, scroll down or click here. For Part 3, scroll down or click here. I will update this post over the next few days as new information becomes available.

Amee Elizabeth Alonso is a sole practitioner with offices in Chicago's Loop. She was licensed in Illinois in 1994. Alonso was briefly a candidate for a countywide vacancy in the March primary; she withdrew from the race before the end of 2017. Her husband is U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Luis Alonso. Alonso was a Short List finalist in 2018.

Marina E. Ammendola was appointed to the Circuit Court by the Illinois Supreme Court in February 2017. She was an unsuccessful candidate for a 14th Subcircuit vacancy in the March 2018 primary. Late last year Ammendola was reappointed by the Supreme Court to a different countywide vacancy.

A former school teacher, Ammendola has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1989. Ammendola made the Chicago newspapers at the turn of the century when she represented Ald. Ed Burke and his wife, now-Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke, in the "Baby T" custody case. Before setting up her own practice in 2001, Ammendola worked for Patricia C. Bobb & Associates. She was a Short List finalist in 2018.

Frank John Andreou is a partner with the firm of Andreou & Casson. He has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1995, according to ARDC.

Andreou was a candidate for a 12th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2016 Primary. He is presently the sixth alternate (of 10) slated by the Cook County Democratic Party for any late-opening countywide judicial vacancies.

Laura Ayala-Gonzalez is the Democratic Party's slated candidate for the countywide Ford vacancy. She was not previously a Short List finalist, although she did apply in 2017 as well as 2018.

Licensed in Illinois since 2003, according to ARDC, Ayala-Gonzalez has spent her legal career in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, currently serving as a Supervisor in the Felony Trial Division of that office. Ayala-Gonzalez came to the Chicago area (Melrose Park) as a six-year old and became the first person in her family to finish high school, graduate from college, and obtain a law degree. She has been a co-leader of the Government Lawyers Program with the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, a member of the Diversity Scholarship Foundation, and a mentor to the Lyons Township High School Mock Trial Team.

Fredrick Hayze Bates is presently serving as a Circuit Court Judge pursuant to an appointment by the Illinois Supreme Court to a 1st Subcircuit vacancy. He was previously appointed to a 2nd Subcircuit vacancy and a countywide vacancy.

Before receiving these appointments, Bates served for 15 years as an administrative law judge. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1983, Bates is a former President of the Cook County Bar Association. He has also served as Chairman of Illinois Civil Service Commission.

Aileen Bhandari is a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney. She has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2002, according to ARDC.

A first time Short List finalist, Bhandari is the incoming President of the South Asian Bar Association. She is also a candidate for the countywide Coghlan vacancy.

Prior to his appointment to the bench in December 2018, Lloyd James Brooks was a founding partner of the Matteson-based Consumer Legal Group. He has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2000, according to ARDC. Brooks is also a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter.

Brooks has been slated by the Cook County Democratic Party for the countywide vacancy he now holds by appointment. He was a Short List finalist in 2018.

Jennifer Frances Coleman has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1995, according to ARDC. An Assistant Cook County State's Attorney, Coleman currently serves as Chief Deputy in that office, according to her LinkedIn page.


John Abbrey Fairman practices with the Homewood firm of Lee & Fairman, LLP. He has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2004. Fairman is a former President of the Cook County Bar Association.

Michael Angelo Forti is currently serving as a Cook County Circuit Court judge pursuant to Supreme Court assignment to an8th Subcircuit vacancy. Forti received this appointment late last year, just prior to the expiration of his original appointment, also to an 8th Subcircuit vacancy.

Forti wasslated by the Cook County Democratic Party for a countywide vacancy in 2012; he was a Short List finalist in 2014.

Beforehis first benh appointment, Forti was Chief Counsel and Ethics Officer for the Illinois Department of Transportation. He worked for the Chicago Corporation Counsel's office from 1994-2012, serving as Deputy Corporation Counsel from 1999-2012. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1980, Forti began his legal career with Bell, Boyd & Lloyd LLC (now K&L Gates, LLP), rising from associate to equity partner by the time of his departure in 1994.

Looking more closely at the Short List finalists - Part 2

In this second part of a three-part series, FWIW continues to look at the finalists for Cook County Associate Judge. For Part 1 of this series, scroll up or click here. For Part 3, scroll down or click here. I will update this post over the next few days as new information becomes available.

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed John S. Fotopoulos to a countywide vacancy in August 2017. Although he was a candidate for a 15th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2014 primary, Fotopoulos did not file for any vacancy in the March 2018 primary. He was, however, a Short List finalist in 2018.

A sole practitioner with offices in Orland Park at the time of his appointment, Fotopoulos reopened an Orland Park office after leaving the bench in December 2018. According to the ARDC website, Fotopoulos's new office is operated as a "division" of Kralovec Jambois & Schwartz. Fotopoulos has been licensed in Illinois since 2000.

Ruth Isabel Gudino is a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney. She has been licensed in Illinois since 1995.

Michael James Hogan Jr.is a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney. He has been licensed in Illinois since 1999. A Short List finalist in 2018, Hogan is the son of former Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hogan.

Edward James Maloney is also a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney. He has been licensed in Illinois since 1989. He sought a countywide judicial vacancy in the 2012 primary.

That's three ASA's in a row -- and very sketchy information about each of them. Judges and lawyers reading this won't fall into this trap, but others happening across this post may think these candidates automatically less interesting or accomplished than some of the others who command longer entries in these posts. I certainly do not mean to create that impression.

Many ASA's, public defenders, and police officers choose not to share a lot of information on social media out of concern that such information could be misused by persons with evil intentions. That leaves less information for me to 'scrape' from social media sites for these persons. I have a picture of Maloney from the 2012 campaign -- when one stands for election a certain amount of privacy must be sacrificed -- but that picture, by definition, is at least seven years old. I try to use more recent photos.

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Judge Celestia Laurene Mays to the countywide Funderburk vacancy in November 2018 (though she did not assume her judicial duties until this past January). This past August, the Cook County Democratic Party slated Judge Mays for the vacancy she now holds.

Licensed as an attorney in 1990, according to ARDC, Mays is a former President of the Cook County Bar Association. Before her appointment to the bench, Mays operated her own firm, concentrating in the areas of family law, probate, and residential real estate. She was briefly a candidate for a 5th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2016 election cycle, but withdrew before the primary. Mays was a Short List finalist in 2018.

Katherine Angela O'Dell is a partner with the firm of Amari & Locallo, handling real estate tax assessment matters for commercial, industrial, apartment, and residential property owners. A former Assistant State's Attorney in the Real Estate Tax Department of the Civil Division of that office, O'Dell has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2000. She is a former President of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. O'Dell was a candidate for a 10th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2014 election cycle.

Monique LeneƩ Patterson is a Cook County Assistant Public Defender. She has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1998, according to ARDC.

Jennifer Joyce Payne is the Chief Litigation Officer and the Director of the Children and Families Practice Group of Legal Aid Chicago. She provides legal education for the Chicago Battered Women's Network and was the 1995 Recipient of Legal Aid Chicago's Equal Justice Award. In 2007, Payne received the Jerold S. Solovy Equal Justice Award. She has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1990.

Diane Marie Pezanoski is a Deputy Corporation Counsel in the City of Chicago Department of Law. She has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1985, according to ARDC.

Pezanoski was a Short List finalist in 2018. She is one of 10 alternates slated by the Cook County Democratic Party for any late-opening countywide judicial vacancies (she's 8th on the list -- and, so far, no new countywide vacancies have been posted).

Paul William Plotnick is a Skokie practitioner. Licensed in Illinois since 1974, Plotnick was a Chicago Public School teacher and an Assistant Cook County Public Defender before setting up his own practice. He is a military veteran, having retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of Staff Sergeant, according to his Avvo profile.

Looking more closely at the Short List finalists - Part 3

In this last of a three-part series, FWIW takes a look at the remaining finalists for Cook County Associate Judge. For Part 1 of this series, scroll up or click here. For Part 2, scroll up or click here. I will update this post over the next few days as new information becomes available.

Leo Steven Rakowski is a partner with K & R Family Legal Services, LLP in Northbrook. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1990, Rakowski is a former President of the Advocates Society and serves as a director of the Polish American Association.

Rakowski has also volunteered as an attorney and director of the Amicus Poloniae Legal Clinic, receiving its 2008 Distinguished Service Award. He has also served as general counsel and volunteer with Chicagoland Golden Gloves Charity. He was a Short List finalist in 2018.

Geri Pinzur Rosenberg is a Chief Attorney in the Torts Division of the Chicago Transit Authority. Licensed to practice in Illinois since 2003, according to ARDC, Rosenberg has spent her legal career with the CTA.

Rosenberg received the Illinois Jury Verdict Reporter’s Trial Lawyer Excellence Award in 2014. In 2016, she received the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois Top Women Lawyers in Leadership Award. Rosenberg has participated in the WBAI's mentorship program for several years and has been active with Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project.

Curtis Bennett Ross is a family law practitioner, practicing from the Loop Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1980, according to ARDC, Ross is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Ross is a former President of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers. He was a Short List finalist in 2018.

Eric Michael Sauceda is a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney. He has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1999, according to ARDC. The Cook County Democratic Party slated Sauceda as its fourth alternate -- meaning that if four new countywide vacancies open up, Sauceda will be the Party's candidate for that fourth vacancy. (As of this juncture, no new countywide vacancies have opened up.)

Rouhy J. Shalabi practices law with the Oak Lawn firm of Rouhy J. Shalabi & Associates. He has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1981.

Shalabi is a founding member and former President of the Arab-American Bar Association. He was the first Arab-American Commissioner of the City of Chicago Park District and the first Arab-American appointed to the Board of Commissioners, Chicago Commission on Human Relations. Shalabi also served as the first President of the City of Chicago Advisory Council on Arab Affairs.

John Anthony Simon is a partner in the Chicago office of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. Licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1985, according to ARDC, Simon spent seven years as an Assistant Illinois Attorney General before joining Drinker Biddle. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Chancery Judge Richard L. Curry.

While still with the AG's office, Simon argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Association, 505 U.S. 88 (1992).

Judge Levander Smith Jr. was a finalist in the 2018 Associate Judge selection process. Essentially, Smith was a finalist twice in 2018 since he tied for the 17th and final spot available in that class and was forced into a runoff.

Smith has since been appointed to the countywide Larsen vacancy and is the Cook County Democratic Party's slated candidate for that position.

Before his appointment, Smith was an attorney with the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services. He has been licensed in Illinois since 1993. He has also been licensed to practice law in Missouri.

In fact, Smith began his legal career with DCFS, working Downstate. He then worked as a prosecutor in St. Louis County. After a stint with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Smith moved to the Missouri Attorney General's Office. He then rejoined DCFS in 2011. Smith previously applied for an associate judgeship in far Downstate St. Clair County in 2013 and 2015.

Theresa Marie Smith is a Chicago Assistant Corporation Counsel. She has been licensed in Illinois since 1999.

Judge Daniel Owen Tiernan was appointed to the Lacy vacancy in the 14th Subcircuit this past February.

Before receiving his judicial appointment, Tiernan was a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney from 1995 to 2007. He left that office to become for Delgado & Tiernan, PC. While in private practice, he also handled probate, real estate, and immigration matters. In January 2016, according to the campaign bio, Tiernan joined the Office of the Cook County Independent Inspector General. He has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1995, according to ARDC.

Judge Tyria Beatrice Walton was appointed to a 1st Subcircuit vacancy just this past June.

Before her appointment, Walton served as a Cook County Assistant Public Defender. She has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1997. Walton has volunteered with the NAACP Chicago Southside Branch , R.A.G.E. Resident Association of Greater Englewood, and the 6th Ward as a Block Club President.