Saturday, May 30, 2015

FAQ's about FWIW

Now that Cook County judicial candidates are starting to reveal their 2016 plans, this seems an appropriate time to address some questions prospective candidates or their supporters may have about this blog. (A lot of this stuff is already addressed in the blog Sidebar, but it may not hurt to spell it out here, too.)
  1. This is a non-partisan blog. I want to cover all candidates running for judge in Cook County. Because Democratic candidates have historically enjoyed such tremendous success in this county, most of the posts here will be about candidates in the Democratic primary. But I will gladly cover Republican candidates, too. If a candidate has a website, I will link to it and (when I get it set up) post it in the blog Sidebar.
  2. This blog does not make endorsements. I'm sure to know some of the candidates who will be covered here, whether I've had cases with or against them over the years, or we've officed together, or because we've met through bar functions, or because we've met through this blog. I will mention significant connections, but I don't think the public cares how many candidates I've met and I am certain the public does not care who I intend to vote for. I've made an editorial decision to try and present all candidates in the most positive light that I can, especially in my first post about a campaign. When the bar association evaluations come out, later in the election cycle, I will also report these -- and, of course, not all of the evaluations will be positive. But I'm not going to go out of my way to slam anyone.

    I believe the best candidates will distinguish themselves when as much information about all candidates as possible is presented for the voters' consideration. In addition to bar evaluations, I will advise of newspaper endorsements (if they're made) or community group or union endorsements (when I can verify them). On the other hand, while I won't make individual endorsements, I have been a lawyer for 35 years and I have fairly well-developed opinions about what I want for my clients when I appear in court. I reserve the right to talk about that -- in general terms -- in future posts.
  3. I want to publicize candidates' events. I'm happy to put up information about candidate fundraisers. But I will cheerfully publicize other candidate events as well. (Organizers of candidate forums are encouraged to contact this blog so I can promote their events.) If a candidate wants to promote a speaking engagement or publicize a petition party, I'll run that, too. I will try and include photographs if the candidate or his or her campaign provides them. Please keep in mind that I have my own practice to run and I can't possibly find out about all candidate events on my own. That means I rely on candidate requests for publicity. I'm sure I'll hear from some campaigns ten times or more; there will probably be others that I'll never hear from once. That does not mean I'm playing favorites; I'm merely responding to the email I receive.
  4. Judicial candidates and committees do not pay for posts appearing on this blog. I do not book the Google ads on that appear on this page, and candidate ads may sometimes appear in those spaces, but I personally do not accept candidate ads. (I will accept ads from persons or companies looking to offer products or services to judicial candidates; see the blog Sidebar for additional information.)

    In this early stage of the election cycle, judicial election posts on FWIW are read primarily by candidates, their supporters, and persons who are thinking about running for judge in the future. A lot of judges tell me that they visit here regularly; so do persons affiliated with the various bar association judicial evaluation committees. Ultimately, however, as the primary date draws close, this site will be increasingly visited by voters looking for information. The information that candidates and their supporters have provided, post by post, will be collected and 'packaged' for the voters. Candidates may want to look at past Organizing the Data posts to get a feel for the kind of information has been collected and posted. I'm always looking to enhance the functionality of this site and I reserve the right to make any improvements within my abilities.)
  5. I am a lawyer, not a professional journalist. However, since professional journalists insist on ignoring judicial elections, I will do the best I can. Having run for judge twice myself (in 1994 and 1996) I appreciate just how little opportunity judicial candidates have to get their credentials before the public. I've already stated my editorial bias in favor of trying to present candidates in the best possible light, at least in my initial post about any given campaign. However, I reserve the right to fact-check information provided, to add information I've discovered on my own, to combine or even ignore duplicative releases. In short, I reserve the right to edit.
  6. Comments on this blog are 'moderated.' This means I read any comment that anyone cares to leave and decide whether or not it will get posted. I will not automatically exclude anonymous comments, but I'd greatly prefer you leave a name. I don't think that comments from friends and family like "he's the best" or "she's the most qualified" are going to really sway any voters when the time comes -- but I will generally let these kinds of comments through. I will, however, block "attack" comments, especially from anonymous commenters.

    I understand that this is a blog and there is an expectation, for better or worse, that all Internet commentary should be freewheeling and even pungent. But this is my blog and I reserve the right to have my own expectations.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Pat Heneghan announces Cook County judicial bid

Commercial litigator Pat Heneghan has announced plans to seek a countywide judicial vacancy in the March 2016 Democratic primary. That's a link to Heneghan's campaign website in the preceding sentence. (When I collect enough of these, there will be an alphabetical list of candidate websites in a sidebar to this blog.)

Heneghan is currently a partner in the law firm of Schopf & Weiss LLP. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1983, Heneghan is a graduate of The Catholic University School of Law. Heneghan began his legal career as a clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Robert Vining (N.D. Ga.) and 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jerre Williams. Among other career accomplishments, Heneghan was one of the lead counsel for Ehlco Liquidating Trust in the case of Employers Ins. of Wausau v. Ehlco Liquidating Trust, 186 Ill.2d 127 (1999).

According to his campaign website, Heneghan is the immediate past President of the Northeast Illinois Council (NEIC) of the Boy Scouts of America, former Chairman of the NEIC Eagle Scout Committee, a member of the NEIC Executive Board, and an Assistant Scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 156 in Glenview. An Eagle Scout himself, according to his campaign website, Heneghan "has mentored hundreds of young men and women by teaching them outdoor skills and citizenship values."

Heneghan's campaign is being chaired by Thomas Vasiljevich, a shareholder in the Chicago office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Norwood Park remembers -- Memorial Day 2015

The rain held off just long enough for the annual Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade today.  Herewith some photos of the occasion.

The parade's Grand Marshal was Air Force veteran Ramina Oraha, a 2003 graduate of Resurrection High School who served in Iraq.  This story, on DNAinfo Chicago, explains why Oraha was chosen.

No neighborhood parade is complete without a large contingent of scout groups.  The first such group in Monday's parade was Pack 3926 from Immaculate Conception Grade School

It wouldn't be a Chicago parade without politicians.  Newly elected 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano had a group wedged in between the IC scout groups.

The IC Girl Scouts

More of today's parade pictures follow on Page Two.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Brendan O'Brien plans June 17 fundraiser

Hinshaw & Culbertson partner Brendan O'Brien is planning a 2016 judicial bid. O'Brien's campaign committee has announced a fundraiser in support of this effort for Wednesday, June 17, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the Chicago offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson, 222 North LaSalle Street, Suite 300.

Tickets for the event are $100 each, and sponsorships are available for $500. To order tickets, or for more information about the event, email by June 10.

O'Brien has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1996. He was an appropriations and research analyst on the staff of House Speaker Mike Madigan in 1991-1992, after taking his bachelor's degree at Illinois State and before starting his law school career at John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Brendan is the grandson of Judge Donald J. O'Brien, who was the longtime presiding judge of the Chancery Division, and the son of retired Judge Donald J. O'Brien, Jr. Brendan is married to Jessica A. O'Brien, who was elected to the Cook County bench in 2012.

Who sits where -- not as early as I thought 2016 edition

Updated and corrected 5/21/15. My thanks to a sharp-eyed reader who corrected my error regarding the origin of the 12th Subcircuit vacancy.

What follows is not a comprehensive list of Cook County judicial vacancies, but rather a list of vacancies that have been filled by Supreme Court appointment. There may be (and often are) vacancies which the Supreme Court has not filled. There will be additional vacancies, and additional appointments between now and late fall when the Illinois State Board of Elections posts an authoritative list of judicial vacancies in anticipation of the 2016 primary.

As always, errors or omissions in this list are mine alone and I am grateful for additions and corrections provided.

Appellate Court Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. James R. Epstein -- Stuart E. Palmer
Vacancy of the Hon. Patrick J. Quinn -- Bertina E. Lampkin

Countywide Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. Richard J. Elrod -- Rossana P. Fernandez
Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas L. Hogan -- Alison Conlon
Vacancy of the Hon. Michael J. Howlett, Jr. -- Aleksandra Nikolich Gillespie
Vacancy of the Hon. Noreen Valeria Love -- Jean Margaret Cocozza
Vacancy of the Hon. Patrick W. O'Brien -- James L. Kaplan
Vacancy of the Hon. Susan Ruscitti-Grussel -- Daniel P. Duffy

Subcircuit Vacancies

1st Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Cynthia Y. Brim -- Maryam Ahmad
Vacancy of the Hon. Vanessa A. Hopkins -- Anthony E. Simpkins

4th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. William J. Kunkle -- Edward John King

5th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Jane L. Stuart -- Freddrenna M. Lyle
Vacancy of the Hon. Shelli Williams-Hayes -- Robin D. Shoffner

6th Subcircuit
"A" Vacancy* -- Anna M. Loftus

7th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Anthony L. Burrell -- Marianne Jackson

9th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Andrew Berman -- Jerry A. Esrig

10th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Garritt E. Howard -- Eve M. Reilly

11th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Carol A. Kelly -- Marc William Martin
Vacancy of the Hon. Susan F. Zwick -- William B. Sullivan

12th Subcircuit
"A" Vacancy** -- Roger G. Fein

I will update this list periodically, as new vacancies are announced or filled. I captioned this the 'not as early as I thought' edition because -- although I'd heard from a number of people asking when I'd get around to putting this list up -- I was certain that it was to soon to do so. This morning, however, when I looked in my archives, I realized that I'd put up a similar list in anticipation of the March 2014 primary in March 2013. But we didn't have a mayoral election in 2013. Apparently, I'm still suffering from election fatigue. Perhaps you are as well.

But the 2016 election cycle is -- however early you may think it is -- absolutely underway.

A navigation tip that blog newcomers may find helpful: If you click on one of the subjects at the bottom of this post, e.g., "2016 Judicial Primary," you will get a page filled with blog posts similarly tabbed, starting with the most recent post at the top.

* This is the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William J. Maddux. Vacancies of judges elected to city-only or suburbs-only judicial vacancies prior to the adoption of the subcircuit system in the early 1990s are assigned to subcircuits as they occur pursuant to a schedule included in the original subcircuit legislation.

** This is the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert J. Quinn. Like Judge Maddux, Judge Quinn was elected to a 'Chicago-only' Circuit Court vacancy in 1992, the last time judges were elected on a citywide or suburbs-only basis (and also the first time judges were elected from Cook County Subcircuits).