Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Running for judge in Cook County can be very challenging indeed

Five of the seven remaining candidates for the Rivkin-Carothers vacancy in the 7th Subcircuit will face challenges to their nominating petitions before the Cook County Electoral Board.

Only Judge Patricia "Pat" S. Spratt and Patrick D. John escaped legal challenges to their candidacies. Four of the five challenged candidates, Mable Taylor, Christopher J. Stuart, slated candidate Jennifer Ballard, and Associate Judge Angela Munari Petrone, face two separate challenges to their papers.

All four candidates for the only vacancy in the 2nd Subcircuit face petition challenges. Travis Richardson faces two challenges.

As Finley Peter Dunne said, about 100 years before the creation of judicial subcircuits, "Politics ain't beanbag."

One might be tempted to extrapolate from these data points that crowded races bring multiple challenges -- but, in the crowded race for the sole vacancy in the 10th Subcircuit, only Timothy Matthew McQuillen drew a challenge to his nominating petitions. The other five candidates in that race were not challenged.

In a race that has drawn a great deal of attention, at least on FWIW, the race for the "A" vacancy in the 6th Subcircuit, no candidates' petitions have been challenged.

Thomas Maloney Cushing filed at the last minute for the countywide Howlett, Jr. vacancy, challenging Judge Alexsandra "Alex" Gillespie, who holds the seat pursuant to Supreme Court appointment and is the Democratic Party's slated candidate. Cushing ran in the 9th Subcircuit in 2014 and was, in the estimation of the various bar associations screening candidates in that primary, one of the highest rated candidates anywhere in the county. Neither of these candidates has been challenged.

Nor were any challenges filed in the countywide Hogan vacancy, where Judge Alison C. Conlon has a one-on-one set up with Michael I. O'Malley.

Similarly, neither of the two candidates for the Kunkle vacancy in the 4th Subcircuit, Donna McDonald or Judge Edward J. King, drew any challenges to their nominating petitions. Former Judge Allan W. Masters got knocked off the ballot in 2014 (he fell six signatures short), but his petitions to run for the "A" vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit Democratic Primary in this election cycle have drawn no challenge. Masters' opponent in that race is James Edward Hanlon, Jr., the Democratic Party's slated candidate. Hanlon is likewise unchallenged.

None of the three candidates for the Hopkins vacancy in the 1st Subcircuit, Rhonda Crawford, Lisa A. Copland, or Judge Anthony E. Simpkins, drew any challenge either.

From these data points one might be tempted to conclude that less crowded fields provoke fewer challenges.

But both candidates in the race for the other 1st Subcircuit vacancy, Judge Maryam Ahmad and Jesse Outlaw, face ballot challenges.

The only real conclusion in predicting ballot challenges is one most lawyers can appreciate (and one that too often makes clients cringe): It depends.

In the race for the Williams vacancy, four of the five candidates drew ballot challenges. One, Rolling Meadows criminal practitioner Jameika Mangum, withdrew her candidacy after the challenge was filed. Judge Robin Denise Shoffner was not challenged, but her remaining opponents, Gwendolyn Dale Anderson, Daryl Jones, and Mary Alice Melchor all will have to cope with attacks on their nominating papers.

Two of the four candidates in the race for the Elrod vacancy will face challenges, Thomas Francis McGuire and Scott Edward Lipinski. Joseph Chico and Judge Rossana Patricia Fernandez were not challenged.

Nor was Judge Devlin J. Schoop challenged in his bid to hold the countywide Karzenis vacancy. Each of his opponents, however, Brian J. O'Hara, Tom Courtney, and Mary Kathleen McHugh, will face challenges.

Judge Gerald V. Cleary is the only one of four candidates who has been challenged in the race for the countywide Walsh vacancy. Patrick Joseph Powers, Kevin Patrick Cunningham, and Fredrick H. Bates emerged unscathed from the petition review process.

Nathan Benjamin Myers faces a challenge in the race for the 9th Subcircuit Berman vacancy. Judge Jerry Esrig and Thomas Peter Kougias do not.

Judge Marc Martin and Catherine Ann Schneider do not have to deal with any attacks on their nominating papers, but the third candidate in the race for the Kelly vacancy in the 11th Subcircuit, James DiChristofano, does.

On the Republican side, Richard Montgomery Craig faces a ballot challenge in the race for the "A" vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit. Two of the three Republican candidates for the Fecarotta, Jr. vacancy in the 13th Subcircuit, face challenges, Richard George Karwaczka and Kevin Michael O'Donnell. The third candidate in that race, Gary W. Seyrig does ont.

Not all ballot challenges are created equal. Some seem nothing more than nuisance filings, but (if history is any guide, and it is) several will be found meritorious. All have a throw-everything-up-against-the-wall quality that is surely the product of the haste with which ballot challenges must necessarily be assembled. Whether a challenge has merit or not, defending against it can be expensive. The initial status hearings on these various ballot challenges will be Monday, December 14 at 2:00 p.m.


Anonymous said...

How can you find out what the challenges are?

Anonymous said...

You can read all the challenges here