Friday, May 18, 2018

A plea for civility

I put through a bunch of comments this morning on the posts about yesterday's developments with the Supreme and Appellate Courts. Comments I didn't particularly like.

Look, I get it: Politics ain't beanbag. And seats on the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts are filled, ultimately, by election. A political process. (Not that appointment isn't also be a political process -- it is -- and it would be even if were labeled 'merit' selection. But that's a story for a different day.)

But I keep bragging that I have smart readers. And I do.

I just wish some of them could be less snide. Less disrespectful. Less mean.

I let through a pension comment, too, this morning, that made an interesting point about some of the more-recently elected judges, judges in the less generous 'tier 2' pension -- but also took gratuitous swipes against several individual judges. Sometimes I wish I could edit comments before putting them through.

I know -- and I know this because people insist on telling me -- that the comments on the blog are what keep people coming back. (I had hoped that it was my crisp, personable prose, but alas).

This meanness in the comments I receive is, presumably, an unfortunate, if accurate, reflection of the mean-spirited age in which we live. But I don't have to like them, and I don't have to publish them.

And I understand it must be tempting to use the cloak of anonymity to attack and settle scores. But anonymity can also be used to educate, enlighten and inform -- e.g. the Federalist Papers -- I know no one studies history anymore, but didn't any of you see Hamilton?

There will be lots to talk about in the weeks and months to come as persons formulate and explore potential runs for the Appellate and Supreme Court vacancies. And I'd like to share as many points of view as I can. Help me do that by making your points a little less barbed, OK?


Anonymous said...


Not necessarily for publication -- but you're welcome to post.

Some of today's "victims" are yesterday's or tomorrow's perpetrators. There are no innocents in the Cook County judicial hustle. But if these are the comments that didn't get flushed, then I can only imagine what did get flushed. You posted some fairly cheap shots taken at Judges Conlon and Quish that have no business being posted. I dare say, the real target was likely their Judicial benefactor who is up for retention in the 2022 cycle. You must realize by now that trolls use your blog to send subtle bullying tactics to their competition or perceived threats. If you don't realize that, then you are at best naive.

Jack Leyhane said...

Anon, I allowed through a number of swipes at a number of people today -- in addition to the ones you mentioned -- and I'm not particularly happy about it. That is why I wrote the post to which you have commented.

And there was very little that was "subtle" in most of these comments today. Even less in some of the follow up comments received. This doesn't paint a flattering picture of our legal community and I'm sorry for that.

Anonymous said...

Jack, I have posted my fair share of caustic comments on your Blog. Some you post, some you flush. But even when you do not post one of my comments, it gives me a combination of relief and satisfaction to write it anyway, knowing at least one knowledgable and considerate person reads it. The only reason I do it is because I believe that if enough individuals within the legal or judicial communities , or even the media, are made aware of certain happenings their sensibilities will be so assaulted a collective demand for change or accountability may occur.

I believe your Blog has grown into something bigger than its creator imagined or intended. Awareness of being "outed" on FWIW has in many instances been openly discussed at meetings or by individuals in the highest levels of Cook County government. Did you know that?

I for one am not a wannabe Judge and am not trying to send messages or intimidate or embarrass anyone. Not trying to settle scores. I made it to the top. I ran and was elected as a Circuit Court Judge. I have no interest in the Appellate Court or beyond, even if it was handed to me on a silver platter. From where I sit, I am sickened by what I see. Prior to being elected I swam with the corporate and big firm sharks for many years and came out on top without so much as scratch. But nothing prepared me for the moral bankruptcy, ethical hypocrisy, arrogance, smugness, laziness, greed, and self-admiration I have seen displayed by many (and I do mean many) of my fellow judges. They do not require or are deserving of your protection.

So Jack, I guess what I am trying to say is that the vary last thing you should be doing is pleading with your readership to tone down their comments. You do have a smart readership and they oftentimes have a right to be upset or frustrated. Their comments (and sometimes mine) are not reflections on the mean spirited age in which we live, but rather to some of the absolute garbage that cloaks themselves with the incredible respect black robes provide. As much as I hate to say this, but just turn the comments off. Just report the news. Or - turn the comments on and let your smart readership say what they want to say. Either way, problem solved. Putting yourself into the role of comment moderator, I believe, is not fair you, and limits the potential of this Blog in effectuating positive change.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jack, just like Brendan Shiller said a few months ago the regular rules should apply to judicial elections. This is a brave new world. Get with the program already.

Anonymous said...


Jack Leyhane said...

Hey, Anon 5/18, 9:55 p.m. -- we'd be far better off if those 'quaint' traditions of judicial elections that you mock were applied across the board to all elections.

You and Mr. Shiller think I should get with your program -- where the "regular" rules (meaning no rules at all) apply to all elections? Well, I say you can have your "brave" barbaric new world.

Get with my program instead.

Anonymous said...

The nastiness directed above at specific judges displays nothing more than jealousy for another's professional achievements. What a waste of time and energy. Oscar Wilde said it best "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken."

Anonymous said...

Jack, I'm a long time fan who strongly supports your battle for civility. The bottom line is, it's your blog. If you don't moderate, that's a choice and you own the comments as part of your content. If you do moderate, there's no place to hide - you have chosen to let the comment on your site. So you really do have to protect the tone and quality. You have that right, and as a practicing lawyer, your reputation in the legal community is extremely important. It's the only product you have. The folks who want to "go low" are in a different lane, and many are not lawyers.

Anonymous said...

There is a RUN-OFF for Associate Judge -- brotha vs. brotha. No more Richardson and Mackoff, because Mackoff won and Richardson is out on his keester. Wonder what THAT was about?