Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cook County Dems slate six sitting judges for eight Circuit Court vacancies; Lampkin and Burke slated for the Appellate Court

The Cook County Democratic Party today endorsed six of the eight judges already serving by Supreme Court appointment for countywide vacancies in the March primary. Although the Democratic Party has not announced whether these six judges have been endorsed for the vacancies they currently fill, the six appointed judges receiving the Democratic Party's blessing are:
  • Alison Conlon,
  • Daniel Patrick Duffy,
  • Rossana Fernandez,
  • Alexandra Gillespie,
  • John Fitzgerald Lyke, Jr., and
  • Devlin Joseph Schoop.
The Party endorsed Brendan O'Brien and Maureen O'Donoghue Hannon for the other two countywide vacancies. O'Brien filed for a countywide vacancy in the 2014 primary, withdrawing in January 2014 and leaving the Democratic Party's slated candidate (and eventual victor) Kristal Rivers in a one-on-one with appointed Judge Peter J. Vilkelis. (Vilkelis was subsequently named an Associate Judge.) Hannon was also a candidate in the 2014 election cycle, also withdrawing in January 2014 and leaving the Democratic Party's slated candidate (and the eventual victor) Diana Rosario in a one-on-one contest with Stephen J. Feldman.

Five alternates were also chosen -- meaning that, when and if additional countywide vacancies open up (assuming that the alternate does not run against the Party's slate in the meantime) these individuals are already 'pre-slated.' The five alternates, in order, are Fredrick Bates, Sean Chaudhuri, Patrick Heneghan, Nichole Patton, and Peter Michael Gonzalez.

The two appointed countywide Circuit Court judges who did not receive the endorsement of the Democratic Party are Judges Jean Margaret Cocozza and James L. Kaplan. According to Manuel Galvan, press secretary for the Cook County Democratic Party, neither Judge Cocozza nor Judge Kaplan scheduled an appearance before the slating committee.

There are currently two Appellate Court vacancies. Justice Bertina Lampkin holds one of these by Supreme Court appointment; the other is held by Justice Stuart E. Palmer. Justice Lampkin was slated today by the Cook County Democratic Party for one of these two vacancies, as was Circuit Court Judge Eileen O'Neill Burke. Three alternates were also selected. In order, these are Associate Judge William Boyd, Judge Raul Vega, and Associate Judge Leonard Murray. Justice Palmer did not schedule an appearance before the slating committee, according to Galvan.


Anonymous said...

Judicial slating synopsis:

Just as the founding fathers probably envisioned when they wrote the Constitution, the candidates for the judiciary were chosen in the back room of a tavern.

The judicial slating started nearly two and half hours late because the committeemen that represent the wards most ravaged by gang violence, shootings and homicides wanted a state's attorney ... who is softer on crime. Anita Alvarez cited her diversity as a Hispanic woman, but she was deemed not minority enough, plus she lives in River Forest so she is really almost white.

Appellate candidates came and went. No surprises. Coronations for Lampkin and Burke. Oddly, Lampkin was not slated last cycle because she was rumored to be not "black enough" and was tough on crime. Fredrenna "I have no judicial experience" Lyle was slated instead. This cycle Lampkin prevailed.

While all this went on, some 40+ prospective judicial candidates waited in another large room of the tavern. Just like high school, you were expected to sit with your group. The cool kids (slaters) sat at one table, cheerleaders at another, minorities at another, and the geeks and nerds had their own table.

Mary Kay Dawson then came out and gathered the judicial candidates to huddle together in a stuffy hallway occupied by two toilets. The collegial group soon turned on each other when fresh air become a precious commodity after Pat Levar used the mens room after his lunch of sausage and peppers. As Dawson fawned over the 80 committeemen and brought them food and drink, she looked like the sole waitress working a Moose Lodge in Wisconsin during a fish boil.

Since committeemen are not the sharpest tacks in the drawer, Dawson had her candidates go first. The committeemen knew they could stop paying attention after the first 8 went, and then needed to resume attention a bit later when Preckwinkle gave a pre chosen signal that her candidates were about to speak. I believe she switched from her green to her blue coat, or it was the other way around. All of these chosen folks were asked if they could contribute $40,000. It was $35,000 at pre-slating, but someone must have figured out they were losing coin by not endorsing State's Attorney or U.S. Senate and they figured they'd stick it to the judicial candidates.

The rest of the doofuses in line were basically stage extras in a bad play. 5 minute speech time was reduced to 3, then 2, then 90 seconds. Committeemen talked, ate, walked around, and I'm quite certain I heard one or two of the sleeping ones accidentally bust ass during the speeches. Between candidates, Dawson would signal to the Arroyos or covertly meet one in the hall outside of Papa Joe's line of vision. It was sad. She speaks to the slowly and loudly as if they don't understand English.

All winners were predetermined. Some poor guys or gals went up there and recited every case they had tried, thinking it mattered. Justice Learned Hand would not have been able to get slated. The decisions were made up well before the sausage and peppers were cooked.

The only real discussion was what to do with Pat Heneghan. Since he posed a threat, they needed to neutralize him by giving him Alternate 3. Then the committeemen instituted a new standard on behalf of Nichole Patton, now known as the Patton Rule. If you run against the party once or twice, you are blackballed, but if you run against them a third time, you get slated.

After that, Mary Kay went around asking if anyone wanted desert or a doggie bag. That was it, two years of anticipation all over in 90 seconds -- just like the back of the car on prom night, only this time after you went home you needed to take a really long, scalding hot shower.

Anonymous said...

Committeeman Dean Maragos - it must have been hard to hold your bladder that long when the 45 people you "endorsed" were standing together in one group outside the men's room.

Anonymous said...

Holding slating in a bar unfairly gave the home-court advantage to the Irish candidates.

Anonymous said...

Short blonde woman named M. Yak Noswad is soliciting business from those not slated to help them run against the 8 countywide vacancies. Odd Scandanavian name, but she looks very familiar. Anyone know anything about her? Is she loyal?

Jack Leyhane said...

@Anon 9:46 -- Your fascination with Ms. Dawson knows no bounds, does it? She's probably got more mentions on this site than any current candidate -- and certainly far more than any other campaign consultant. Are you working on commission?