Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Supreme Court appoints Fredrick H. Bates to upcoming countywide judicial vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court today appointed Fredrick H. Bates to an upcoming judicial vacancy, specifically, the countywide vacancy that will be created on December 11, when Judge Marilyn F. Johnson retires.

Bates' appointment will be effective December 14 and will terminate on December 5, 2016.

But don't plan on seeing Judge Johnson's vacancy on the March primary ballot: Her retirement date comes after the close of the November 9 through November 30 special filing period, November 30 being the last date on which a judicial vacancy can occur which can be filled in the March 2016 primary. The Johnson vacancy will not be filled until the 2018 primary.

Bates will be on the 2016 primary ballot, however, as the slated candidate of the Democratic Party for the recently opened Walsh vacancy (he was the first of several alternates selected by the Democratic Party at its August slating meeting). The Supreme Court could not appoint Bates to the Walsh vacancy, however, because it had already filled that vacancy -- appointing Gerald Vernon Cleary III was to the Walsh vacancy just a couple of weeks ago.


Anonymous said...

I thought there was a late filing period. The party has used this charade every cycle. Why else did second alternate Sean Chaudrahi (sp?) just open a campaign fund and put in 75k? It's not for 2018.

Jack Leyhane said...

Anon -- Hang on a moment. There IS a late filing period and we're in it. There are as yet, however, no vacancies that have occurred DURING this late filing period. Surely Judge Johnson is entitled to decide when she wishes to retire -- and the date she selected happens to be December 11... AFTER the late filing period would end.

This does not mean that nobody can retire between now and December 11. For all I know, there may be several resignations pending. I am sure you realize that I am not consulted on these things. I just report what I find out about, when I find out about it.

I tried to make my explanation clear; I hope this clears up any lingering confusion.

Anonymous said...

So after this appointment terminates in December 2016, does the Supreme Court make another appointment that goes until December 2018?

Jeff Janulis said...


Jack Leyhane said...

@Anon 3:58 -- That would be my guess, yes.

Jack Leyhane said...


But, to the point, and with all due respect, in what way is any of this "Democratic Party shenanigans?"

The Democratic Party has four more 'pre-slated' alternates on deck and you'd better believe the party would love to find vacancies in which they could run now because there would, in that case, be four less promises that the party would have to redeem (or forget) in the summer of 2017, when the 2018 slate is chosen. So the timing of Judge Johnson's pending resignation is not in the party's interests.

As for the appointment of Mr. Bates, who was the first pre-slated alternate, incumbency in office will certainly burnish his credentials as he pursues the Walsh vacancy (not the Johnson vacancy) in the coming primary. His elevation at least indirectly benefits the slate as well. But, if the Supreme Court were really working hand-in-glove with the Democratic Party, it would have made far more sense for Mr. Bates to be appointed to the Walsh vacancy in the first place. He was not.

I do not suggest that the Supreme Court operates on an etheral plane far above from the grubby political world. It has institutional interests and its members have interests of their own besides. This is understandable. Humans are a political species. But their interests, whatever they may be, are not -- as shown -- in perfect alignment with those of the Cook County Democratic Party and I therefore submit that this appointment can not be fairly characterized as "Democratic Party shenanigans."