Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Epstein resigns; Cobbs promoted; Palmer's appointment gets an end date

Justice James R. Epstein has resigned from the Appellate Court, effective yesterday. According to Marc Kalinsky's article in today's Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (subscription required), Epstein left the bench to become an arbitrator and mediator with JAMS Inc. Justice Epstein was elected to the Appellate Court in 2010.

The Illinois Supreme Court has assigned Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Y. Cobbs to the Appellate Court, effective today, and she will assume Justice Epstein's case load in the First District's Fourth Division. But Judge Cobbs has not been assigned to fill Epstein's vacancy.

The Illinois Supreme Court has reassigned Justice Stuart E. Palmer to the new Epstein vacancy, also effective today. Justice Palmer was first appointed to the Appellate Court in late 2011. That appointment, like the appointment given to new Justice Cobbs, was open-ended ("until further order of court"). The Supreme Court's appointment this week terminates December 5, 2016, when Justice Epstein's seat will be filled by election.

There are 24 seats on the First District Appellate Court. Eighteen positions are filled by election; the other six justices are Circuit Court judges assigned to the Appellate Court by the Supreme Court. But, with Justice Epstein's resignation, two of the 18 elected positions are also filled by Circuit Court judges serving on the Appellate Court by assignment. The other vacancy was created by the death of Patrick J. Quinn last January. Justice Laura Liu was assigned to the Appellate Court at that time, but it was the longest-serving Circuit Court judge assigned to the Appellate Court, Justice Bertina E. Lampkin, who was assigned to the Quinn vacancy on that occasion.

This week's Appellate Court reshuffle does not obligate Justice Palmer to become a candidate for election to that court in 2016. After the current appointment ends, he could resume his duties as a Circuit Court judge. But the Supreme Court's actions this week do mean that, if Justice Palmer (or, for that matter, Justice Lampkin) are to continue on the Appellate Court after December 2016, they must seek, and win, election.


Anonymous said...

Justice Liu also has an end date.

Very Sad Attorney said...

Hello Jack, My comment is a little late but I just returned from vacation and read your post My vacation afterglow was quickly washed away by the sad realities of politics as usual by our Supreme Court. After Judge Shelly Harris beat the Democratic slated candidate, Judge Freddrenna Lyle for the Gordon vacancy on the Appellate Court, the handwriting was on the wall that the Supreme Court would soon find another African American woman to appoint to the Appellate Court. Judge Cobbs was just sworn in a little over a month ago and now she is appointed to an Appellate Court vacancy? Additionally, she only served as an appointed judge for a short time prior to that. What are her qualifications? It is undeniable that hundreds of other judges with far more experience would be better suited for this promotion. Recent Supreme Court appointments have very little to do with actual merit. They are about clout, race, and gender. This is really disappointing to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Leyhane. I am going to start to send you inside information. Tomorrow The SC will publish an Order appointing Rossana Fernandez. This is a political appointment and not based upon merit. State Sen. Iris Martinez pressured John Cullerton who is good friends with Theis to appoint any Hispanic. You will never be appointed or made an associate judge. Stop being so nice. Publish critical comments sent to you. The Theis screening committee exists but has no impact on actual appointments. The hypocrisy is incredible. You need to start allowing all comments to be published. The truth must be told. I will soon be able to tell you the names on the short list. This is all a game for the public. You must know that by now. Judge Jackson in the 7th? Please. Ann Loftis in the super majority Hispanic 6th? Call Judge Gloria Chevere and ask her about that. Evie Delarosa had already been slated to run against Loftis in the 6th. This is an insiders game of 180,000 jobs being traded. You want quality? Forget it. Judge Rice? Never seen the inside of a courtroom yet gets a qualified rating from CCL. Have you wondered why? Start asking the tough questions Jack or if you do not have the balls, let your readers do it in the form of comments on this blog. Stop refusing to publish the critical comments. From slating, to bar evaluations, to appointments, to uncontested elections, it's all a democratic party controlled game. It is not fair. Quit acting like it is. Turn this blog into something meaningful. Stop the fluff.

Jack Leyhane said...

It's true that I flush a lot of comments -- I get a lot of badly spelled, ungrammatical stuff about Judge X being "prejudice" or Judge Y being "in the pocket of the bankers" or screeds about Judge Z and her "Zionist colleagues" violating Magna Carta. So I don't apologize for refusing to publish those kinds of comments. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

It's your blog. Flush what you like. As a service to those interested in these matters I did wish to read comments that may be a little to "intense" or "emotional" such the previous comments posted herein. I know what both of these two people are trying to say, and I agree with them to a point, however a little more professionalism is in order.