Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Attention judicial candidates: The Alliance wants you

This post is in the nature of a plea to unscreened judicial candidates:

Many judicial candidates were screened by the Chicago Bar Association and the 11 members of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening -- typically because they've run for office before or applied for associate judge.

But not all judicial candidates have been screened. Are you one of these?

Some people believe (and understandably so) that judicial candidates who refuse to submit their credentials for review by their peers are thumbing their noses, not just at their colleagues who would appear before them in court, but at the public who would pay their salaries.

Let's put it this way: Presumably, you, the judicial candidate, would not seek the office unless you felt you were able to do the job and do it well. If a bar association disagrees with your personal assessment because of some petty or private reason or bias, you have a forum here to set the record straight. And while bar association recommendations are not endorsements, once you have them, they are something you can use to persuade the voting public that your belief in your ability is grounded in fact and reality. Do yourself, and the public a favor.

I will concede that filling out the forms and appearing for an interview by your peers is stressful, particularly the first time you do it. And sentencing someone to jail wouldn't be? Deciding that the hospital's conduct did not, as a matter of law, cause a baby's deformities wouldn't be stressful?

The Alliance has been working to help Cook County voters make educated choices about judicial candidates since the 1990s. Early voting for the 2012 Primary begins on February 27. The Alliance needs time to screen candidates, to investigate their credentials, to schedule interviews, and for each of the Alliance members to deliberate thereafter and make their independent evaluations. The sooner the public learns the results of these investigations, the more helpful these recommendations can be for the general public.

If you, dear reader, are a judicial candidate who has not been screened, stop reading immediately and email Joyce Williams at

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