Friday, October 17, 2014

Edward John King appointed to 4th Subcircuit vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court today appointed Edward John King to the 4th Subcircuit vacancy created by the recent retirement of Judge William J. Kunkle. The appointment is effective October 24 and terminates December 5, 2016.

At the time of his appointment, King was a practitioner in west suburban La Grange. According to his Sullivan's entry, King focused his practice in municipal law, eminent domain and condemnation practice. He has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1981.

Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis had announced an application process for the Kunkle vacancy this past July.


Anonymous said...

Why wasn't the candidate evaluated as the Sup Ct Notice clearly outlines? Seems shifty, no?

Jack Leyhane said...

I almost flushed the above comment -- comment moderation can be a great force for civility online -- but, this time, I let the comment pass because I wanted to respond.

Who says Mr. King was not evaluated by the various bar associations? I hear from people connected with various JECs, on and off the record, all the time; if this person had not been evaluated, I'd have expected some communication from someone (you know, someone with a name?) raising the issue.

I wonder if the person leaving this drive-by comment was confused by the fact that Mr. King is not mentioned in prior posts regarding candidate evaluations. But Mr. King, though he may be a candidate in 2016, is not a candidate now, and his screening results would not be part of the candidate evaluations reported here.

The Supreme Court is under no obligation to appoint only persons unanimously approved by the bar associations although -- in general -- in recent years -- that has been the Court's consistent practice. I am therefore confident that Mr. King was screened and did in fact receive positive ratings -- and it is unfortunate that the commenter suggested otherwise without any support for his or her suspicions.

Anonymous said...

The question is and was legitimate. The notice states that Justice Theis has a review committee to vet candidates. Has that committee met? I was a bit shocked it was announced on your website and not on the Sup Ct website. I find that odd. You take faith that he was screened. I am a fool for questioning that? I asked a question, I did not state a fact which needed factual support.Was he screened? I have no evidence he was. Do you? Just asking. Take a breath.

Jack Leyhane said...

My evidence that Mr. King was screened is circumstantial, but nonetheless conclusive in the absence of any to the contrary: I reported the appointment and I haven't heard from any bar group's JEC advising that they had no chance to vet this candidate.

The formation of Justice Theis's screening committee was announced when it occurred; the membership of that committee was announced at the time. But how and when that committee meets has never been a matter of public record. Do I know if Justice Theis's committee met, all together in one room, to recommend this particular person? I can't know that. You are correct in noting that there was no press release issued, but there isn't always a press release when someone is appointed.

So, yes, although I can't vouch for the entirety of the process, I'm satisfied that Mr. King was screened.

Anonymous said...

I must disagree with your statement that the Supreme Court appoints consistently with unanimous bar ratings. They do not and they should not. Judy Rice for example has three negative ratings yet she was recently appointed as you reported. She is an example of major bar groups having different opinions regarding her suitability for the bench. Like every aspect of the judicial election or appointment process, bar reviews are not perfect and often times political. How do I know? I currently sit and have sat for many years on an Alliance Bar Group Member JEC. What goes on behind closed doors is questionable at best, and often times unfair. If I ever chose to run for judge, I would not want to submit myself to this unfair process but would have no other choice to do so as participation is a mark of a serious candidate. The Supreme Court is well aware that some of the bar group have very few members and many of them do not even practice regularly in court. Moreover, not one bar group screens their JEC members or interviews them regarding their qualifications to rate judicial candidates. Do you know any bar group that provides training or education to their JEC members as to how to evaluate a candidate?

Justice Theis and Justice Burke have established their own committees to look at candidates to appointment as they do not not wish to solely rely upon the CBA or Alliance. I think this is an excellent practice. I once read an open letter in your blog written by the two Alliance co-chairs condemning several candidates for not submitting themselves for evaluation. Are you aware that one of those co-chairs is not even licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois?

Jack Leyhane said...

Thank you, Anon 12:56, for your thoughtful, and thought-provoking, comment. I've sometimes wondered whether what Bismarck said about laws and sausages might apply also to the deliberations of JECs -- it may be better not to see them being made.

I don't know how JEC volunteers can or should be trained beyond becoming acquainted with the standards that each association has formulated to assess a candidate's worthiness. Of course, those standards are so general it is not hard to believe that they may mean different things to different persons. Mandatory training, moreover, could discourage potential JEC volunteers -- and I think you are saying that that the larger a bar group's JEC, the more credible its determinations. If that's what you're saying, I agree. But volunteers are sometimes hard to come by and those who put themselves forward, as you evidently have, sometimes feel that they are unduly burdened because they are so few in number. I am inclined to agree that the more JEC volunteers that each group has, the more likely it is that the group's ultimate evaluation will be fair.

I also think that bar groups that explain their decisions (the CBA and CCL, although the ISBA has done so once recently) also have greater influence, possibly disproportionate to the size of the group. However, the CBA also typically has the largest JEC.

I concede your point on newly appointed Judge Rice. As you point out, she was not recommended by the CBA, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, and the Asian American Bar Association. But, at the time of her appointment, Rice had won her primary election and was unopposed in November and the seat was vacant. I guess, in my own mind, I put those kinds of appointments in a different category from first-time appointments such as the one under discussion in this post.

I started out by thanking you for your interesting comment. Let me close by thanking you for your important JEC service.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Sir. You are right that an Appointment given to a Democratic Primary winner for the purpose of allowing that individual to be seated early does have a different "feel". I would guess because the term of the Appointment is usually shorter and the Appointment itself only changes the time frame of the inevitable. Also, the typical order of first get appointment, then run, is reversed. Those folks run and become judge-elects, then get appointed.

My only comments were that I agree that the Supreme Court should vet candidates through their own evaluation committees and often times unanimous bar evaluations are not a prerequisite to Appointment. Once I started writing I went off on a tangent because of my own strong feelings that the CBA and Alliance JEC are not very fair or consistent in their evaluations. Again, my feelings are based on my long-time service as an Alliance JEC member. Please do not thank me for my service. I joined a JEC many years ago very simply because I was interested in running for judge myself in the future and wanted to get an inside look at other candidates to see how i measured up. As it turned out I measured up very well but my practice was doing well and I never wanted to upset the applecart. Additionally, I became very turned-off to the entire process, including the evaluation process of the various Bar groups. At my age running for judge is now out of the question. I just want to bring some fairness to the evaluations I take part in.

In the next month or two I am very certain that you will be publishing a story about a fine young man who has brought an action against a major bar group for defamation as a result of a published JEC evaluation. An action such as this, in my opinion, is very long overdue. It will bring some much needed light and attention to this very important process.

Jack Leyhane said...

The anonymous commenter who was concerned whether Justice Theis's screening committee evaluated Mr. King prior to his appointment may be interested to read this press release issued yesterday by the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

I was interested. Please see my post on the 7th subcircuit vacancy today. That is why I was curious. No one else in the 7th was evaluated. Just the winner.