Monday, March 12, 2018

Illinois Civil Justice League releases some recommendations in Cook County judicial races

In anticipation of the March 20 primary, the Illinois Civil Justice League today released its recommendations in judicial races statewide.

The ICJL's complete list of recommendations may be found here.

In Cook County races, the ICJL issued a "Highly Recommended" rating to one countywide candidate, Keely Patricia Hillison (Flannagan vacancy), and four subcircuit candidates, Fredrick H. Bates (2nd Subcircuit - Lampkin vacancy), Edward J. Underhill (6th Subcircuit - Cooke vacancy), Gerald Cleary (10th Subcircuit - Suriano Vacancy), and Daniel Patrick Fitzgerald (13th Subcircuit - Lawrence vacancy).

All but one of these persons receiving the ICJL's "Highly Recommended" rating are running in the Democratic primary. The exception is Fitzgerald, who is running as a Republican for the Lawrence vacancy in the traditionally Republican 13th Subcircuit. The ICJL did single out the Democratic candidate for the Lawrence vacancy for a "Not Recommended" rating. That candidate, Shannon P. O’Malley, changed his name from Phillip Spiwak after an unsuccessful judicial bid in Will County in 2010. In a press release issued with its ratings today, ICJL President John Pastuovic stated, "O'Malley is deceiving voters by changing his party affiliation and his perceived ethnic origin," adding that, in the ICJL's opinion, O'Malley's "cynical attempt to game the electoral process disqualifies him for any office, particularly that of judge."

Three subcircuit candidates, two Democrats and one Republican, received a "Recommended" rating from the ICJL. The Democratic candidates are Rishi Agrawal (8th Subcircuit - Pethers vacancy) and Stephanie Saltouros (10th Subcircuit - O'Neill Burke vacancy). The Republican candidate is Christine Svenson (13th Subcircuit - O'Donnell vacancy).

The ICJL chose to take "No Position" with regard to subcircuit candidates John Andrew O'Meara, Martin D. Reggi, and Gwyn E. Ward Brown.

According to the ICJL, the "Recommended" rating is given "to judges or judicial candidates who have demonstrated a satisfactory level of competency in regards to their legal and/or judicial careers, and/or who have demonstrated their commitment to educating the voters about their background, experience and viewpoints on the judicial system." The "Highly Recommended" rating is reserved "for candidates or judges who have demonstrated a high level of competency based on those criteria."

The "No Position" rating signifies that a candidate or judge "did not return the [ICJL] questionnaire, and/or their candidacy left the ICJL insufficient information to assign a rating," according to the ICJL.

With the exception of Shannon O'Malley, each of the Cook County candidates who received any rating from the ICJL, including the "No Position" position, returned a questionnaire. (See post below.)

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