Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Michele Smith on judicial slating generally, upcoming 8th Subcircuit slating in particular

I am pleased to present a guest post today from 43rd Ward Alderman and Committeeman Michele Smith:

As 43rd Ward Democratic committeeman, one of my roles is to "slate" candidates for nomination in the primaries. Slating is an endorsement and carries with it the expectation that ward Democratic "organizations" help candidates circulate petitions. Slated candidates usually contribute to the Cook County party to share finances for literature and signs.

As you know, in Illinois we citizens elect the judges who decide who gets convicted and who goes to jail, who wins the lawsuits, which parent gets custody, and who gets evicted - in short, we elect the people who administer justice in our city. As a former trial lawyer, I have decided to be a voice for merit selection of judges during slating. Of the many judicial races in the 2012 election, I can have the most impact on your behalf in four races: the sub-circuit judges in the Eighth Sub-circuit.

Unlike most judges, the sub-circuit judges run in a compact geographical area. The 8th sub-circuit runs roughly from 26th street to Peterson, from the lake to generally Ashland:

(For a link to a navigable version of this map, click here.)

Each committeeman receives one vote for each Democratic ballot voted in that ward during the 2010 primary. There are a total of 50,251 weighted votes and it takes a majority to win the slating. I have the second highest number of votes at 7,650 - so please remember your primary vote has an impact far after the election is over! (Here is a link to a chart showing the rest of the weighted vote.)

How will the slating be done? Judicial candidates have been requesting meetings with me for months, and I have met with everyone who has asked. I review their resumes, their bar recommendations and their list of supporters. There are far more excellent candidates than openings.

Because of this surplus of excellent candidates, other factors enter into the decision, including politics. Naturally, each committeeman would like to have a judge who is elected from their ward and best reflects their constituencies.

Nevertheless, I intend to advocate to have the most qualified of the candidates receive our endorsement.

The slating will be held October 23 at Ann Sather's on Belmont at 3:00 p.m. In the public session, each candidate will receive a brief opportunity to speak and answer questions. Then the committeemen will meet in closed door session to reach a decision.

The 43rd Ward Democrats will have its independent endorsement session during the winter, so look for an announcement before the election for our event where you can personally meet the judicial candidates.

-- Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd Ward

Editor's Note: A version of this post was circulated by Ald. Smith in a constituent email.

Related: Democratic party slating session in 8th Subcircuit announced (Per the linked post, today is the deadline for candidates to submit their credentials for the slating session.)

No comments: