Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Patricia S. Spratt appointed to 7th Subcircuit vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court yesterday named Patricia S. Spratt to fill the 7th Subcircuit vacancy created by the recent retirement of Judge Anita Rivkin-Carothers. The appointment is effective September 8 and terminates on December 5, 2016.

Spratt is a currently partner in the Chicago office of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP; she has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1991. She was a candidate for the countywide Neville vacancy in 2014, winning endorsements from the Tribune and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky along the way.


Anonymous said...

A WHITE JUDGE IN THE 7TH SUBCIRCUIT! This demands a Sun-Times investigation.

Anonymous said...

Again with the different set of rules...different standars for Hispanic vacancies versus all others, Black, White, Greek or Jewish!

Look at the posting regarding the July 1, 2015 announcement by the Supreme Court about the 6th sub-circuit vacancy and the endless hoops candidates need to jump through just to be considered for appointment to the vacancy crated by the retirement of Judge Leida Gonzalez-Santiago.

Can someone please tell me what hoops Ms. Spratt jumped to get appointed to the vacancy created by Judge Anita Rivkin-Carothers' vacancy?

Oh yeah, nevermind. Just another example of the pathetic "family and friends plan" double-standard that the Supreme Court is so famous for. Okay for everybody to just get tapped on the shoulder and be made a judge except for Hispanics. As in the old "Jim Crow" days, it looks like the 6th sub-circuit has a poll tax.

As always, E.P.

Anonymous said...

They are more enlightened in the 7th than they are in the 6th.

Jack Leyhane said...

E.P., I hope you know how grateful I am for your comments -- I think your comments may be bringing new readers to the blog.

But... you've raised this double-standard, 'friends and family' thing before, but at least some of your concerns have an innocent explanation.

To wit: There are three Supreme Court justices elected from Cook County (each of the state's other four appellate districts gets one each, for the total of seven). Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court gets to fill judicial vacancies when they occur. So when vacancies occur in Cook County, the three justices could all make joint appointments -- all in agreement -- but, traditionally, that's not how it has worked. The Supreme Court always appoints, but, in Cook County, the individual justices take turns recommending the appointee, who is (so far as anyone knows) always appointed.

This used to be a not-so-well-kept secret. You might figure out which justice appointed which new judge if the Law Bulletin ran a picture of the installation -- understandably, the appointing justice would typically play a prominent role in the installation ceremony.

But fashions change. Downstate, where judicial districts cover literally dozens of counties, justices began appointing committees to assist in screening judicial wannabes. The practice has spread to Cook County. This is not statutory; it is not required. So the three justices from Cook County can and do take different approaches to screening committees. Justice Freeman has not disclosed any particular committee, or even (so far as I know) if he has one. Justice Burke has a committee, chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Benjamin K. Miller, but her committee keeps a very low profile. Justice Theis has made it a point to publicize the establishment of her screening committee and to make a point of making appointments 'within her gift' (as the old expression goes) through that committee, co-chaired by retired Appellate Court Justice Michael J. Gallagher and retired District Court Judge Wayne Anderson.

The 6th Subcircuit vacancy of Judge Leida Gonzalez-Santiago will be filled on the recommendation of Justice Theis -- and at least some of the "endless hoops" to which you refer are the result of the process instituted for the Theis committee.

Now, E.P., I don't relate this because of my Panglossian view of the world or because I am an "insider." (I am far, far, far from being an insider -- as I have proved recently beyond argument). But I am a long-time, interested observer.

You are observing from a different viewpoint, E.P., and I do not presume to contest the validity of your observations, but I add my own to yours for the sake of providing perspective for blog readers.

Anonymous said...

EP. Nothing is stopping Hispanics from running. Recruit Hispanic candidates and have them run.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Leyhane,

First things first. I love your blog and your writing style.

And now for the reasoning behind my earlier comment. Ms. Pratt's husband is a federal judge. So I think her appointment by the Supreme Court to that vacancy in the 7th sub-circuit qualifies under the friends and family plan. But hey, that's just my opinion.

As always, E.P.

Jack Leyhane said...

E.P. -- The 2013 wedding of 7th Circuit Judge William J. Bauer and newly-appointed Judge Spratt is a matter of public record and was reported at the time. However, the identity of Ms. Spratt's spouse has nothing to do with her own qualifications to serve as a Circuit Court Judge. Granted, it presumably didn't hurt her chances of getting appointed -- but why should her marriage be held against her? In every election cycle that I've observed in any detail, we've had a number of candidates who are spouses, offspring, nephews, nieces or in-laws of present or former judges (your "friends and family plan"). These martial or familial relationships should not be of themselves any sort of qualification for judicial office -- I think we completely agree on this -- but why should any given individual who is otherwise qualified be denied the chance to serve because he or she is related by blood or marriage to someone who is already serving?

I admit to occasional pangs of envy because I have no such connections... but, as the cheery old saying goes, "Life is hard, and then you die."

Anonymous said...