Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Who's doing best in the retention races?

I mentioned earlier that all Cook County judges on the retention ballot appear to have kept their jobs this evening -- but, as I mentioned in a September post, no matter how highly regarded the judge, no matter how many endorsements or favorable bar association ratings, it is rare indeed for any sitting judge to receive more than an 80% favorable rate.

Put another way, it appears that two of every ten voters will "just say no" to each and every sitting judge.

The pattern appears to be holding tonight. Quickly scanning City and County returns, Judge Carol A. Kelly, who received favorable ratings from every bar association, has received just under an 80% "yes" vote (79.7%). Judge Sharon Marie Sullivan, who has also received favorable ratings from all the bar associations, has a 78.25% "yes" vote. These two jurists appear to be leading the pack among the retention candidates.

Bar ratings and endorsements do matter: Checking updated results, Judge Dorothy F. Jones has received 63.6% "yes" votes (and she has received "yes" votes from only 58.3% of the suburban voters). Another judge who was targeted by the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, Judge Jim Ryan has received "yes" votes from only 63.5% of the voters. (Judge Jones received unfavorable ratings from all the bar associations; Judge Ryan was not recommended by the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Council of Lawyers, although he did receive favorable ratings from the Asian American Bar Association, Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago, Cook County Bar Association, Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Hispanic Lawyers of Illinois, Puerto Rican Bar Association, and Women's Bar Association of Illinois.)

The question that will be posed by critics of our current system of electing and retaining judges is whether bar association ratings and newspaper endorsements make enough of a difference. (No Cook County Circuit Court judge has been defeated for retention since 1990.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is there such a thing as a bad judge in Cook county? If they've always been approved since 1990, where's the incentive to do a good job?