Tuesday, May 22, 2018

About those associate judge results and that plea for civility....

Before yesterday's announcement about the 16 new associate judge selections, I was working with the overflowing comments box, trying to figure out a way to get more comments in and trying to keep the conversation civil.

Unfortunately (for me), upon reflection I have to agree with this anonymous commenter:
Jack: You are partly to blame for what you perceive to be this lack of civility. Over the years you let slide plenty of snide and backhanded slights clearly targeted against candidates by opponents of other enemies. That emboldened them to continue and increase with even greater levels of toxicity. Not saying it’s right, but you set the tone of this blog. Not jerks with grudges. If you don’t like the comments, flush them. But the reality is that the comments reveal more truth about the tone and tenor of these campaigns than most people realize.
I couldn't run the entire comment... because it thereafter took a left turn into a personal slam against a particular judge.

And I also agreed with Anon 5/21 @6:35 a.m. who commented on last Friday's civility post, in pertinent part:
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.
I think this person has it right, as opposed to another commenter on that post who suggested that the 'problem would be solved' by either flushing everything... or letting everything in.

And if the tone here sometimes is 'pompous windbag,' I'm sorry for that, too.

On mornings like this, I'm also sorry I didn't convert this blog into one chronicling the White Sox rebuild.

You see, as much as I thought the comment box was full of difficulties before the AJ announcement came out, things really got challenging after.

Once again, I'm faced with the question of weighing the 'news value' of comments against their venom content.

There's news value, I believe, in a comment like this one (part of a longer comment I passed through this morning):
If you got elected in 2012, you'll be out of a job come the first Monday in December, 2018. We have already called the Sun-Times, the Tribune and the Defender to let them know what your did. You dissed a Blacke female AUSA, the former head of IPRA and the former CCBA President, in addition to two (2) sitting black judges. You messed with the wrong ones this time! Remember, the retention ballot is a countywide ballot -- and black folks are done being dissed by the Circuit Court of Cook County.
And that's pretty typical of several of the comments I put through this morning.

This was also part of a much longer comment passed through --
Why do you think that Toni sent that notice earlier this year about submitting credentials to the party for retention slating. Yep, bingo, THIS right here, is why she did it. Toni cannot reform the Cook County Courts by just electing a State's Attorney. Nope, she needs to move on with the judges -- ALL OF THEM!
So, if you scroll down to yesterday's post, you'll see some very angry comments.

But let's look at some additional facts.

Some of the African-American finalists may have encountered difficulty with some 'progressive' interests. The former head of IPRA didn't make it? Well, IPRA is now COPA because, in some circles, including among many African-Americans, IPRA was too lenient in cases of alleged police misconduct. And the candidate in question was head of OPS, not IPRA, anyway, but that distinction seems to have been lost.

And, yes, two of the four appointed judges who did not get selected are African-American. But the very progressive Injustice Watch article on yesterday's AJ results dredged up -- again -- that one of those candidates had a prior (prior, meaning in the past) problem with one bar group rating, while the other had a decade-old censure on his record -- one fully disclosed and vetted by every bar group, which found that candidate qualified or better.

Also, while only one African-American male will be included with this class (the winner of the runoff), the class includes two past presidents of the Asian American Bar Association; at least two Hispanics, one of whom was formerly president of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois; and one openly gay person.

This Tweet was posted yesterday afternoon by the Diversity Foundation:

There are a number of other comments you won't be reading, in whole or in part. Some person, or some people, really have it in for one of the new AJs. There are some particularly nasty anti-Burke and anti-Evans comments. Here's a fraction of one comment that ventures a prediction on the mayoral race, based on the outcome of the AJ balloting:
Wow, such a strong showing of black unity amongst the IJC. Now I know how Rahm is going to win again.
And, in a mark of 'success' -- I suppose that's how I have to view it -- I seem to have attracted my very own troll:
FWIW has jumped the shark folks. Jack cut a deal with the supremes to get an appointment, so no more honest comments. Time to start a new blog.
Let me know when you start it up, Troll. Meanwhile, Birmingham lost again yesterday, and Eloy Jiménez went 1 for 4, but that one was his eighth homer.


Anonymous said...

So who do you think the Sox will draft with the Number 4 pick? :)

Anonymous said...

Jack, media outlets "steer the story" by publishing certain letters to the editor and not others. Same is true with comment moderation. It is not healthy to put yourself in that position nor is it fair to your readership. Judges are made aware in training and orientation how bias and implicit bias may impact rulings. Turn the comments off or let them all in. You may own the comments as far as content purposes however they are not attributable to you so it has no impact on your reputation. When, however, you adhere to a policy of letting some harsh comments in and not others, it does impact your reputation, at least with those who have a different opinion than yours.

Anonymous said...


Anon 5/22/18 got it right. There is no attribution to you for other poster's comments. But I must say, the few tidbits that you did let through were, as you conceded, newsworthy. Don't flush anything. Let it all in. Your readers know what's true and what's garbage; and they are savvy enough to distinguish fact from opinion. Fact: your blog has been around a long while. Opinion: your blog has "jumped the shark." As for comments about implicit bias, I will say this, "white privilege" is when white judges wearing robes can easily manufacture 10,000 reasons why they couldn't find "qualified Associate Judge candidates" who "happen to be black." I should know. I have been to bar association events with Circuit Judges. One in particular once loudly said she can never find any qualified "blacks." What a coincidence, because qualified whites are similarly few and far between in the Circus Court of Crook County. But Ms. White Privilege apparently was too wrapped up in her own implicit bias to notice. But I can tell you that I won't be voting for that fat, racist, white ethnic (not Irish) lady wearing a robe when she is up for her next retention (assuming she doesn't keel over from eating too much moutza). Nope, I am going to run for her vacancy. No. I won't out her name or the names of any of her fat, pompous, drunk male colleagues. By the way, it's not just the white people who are racist. No sir. The black judges are equally racist, especially to other black lawyers and judicial candidates. At least 2 associate judge candidates this last go around had a particular black judge tell them that they are not "black enough." I dare say, "Captain Black" has done such a pitiful job of getting black associate judges elected that somebody should revoke HIS black card and send him back to . . . wait for it . . . whatever hole he crawled out of because he could use some more time evolving in the primordial ooze.

On a related note, when Jessica O'Brien reports to prison Justice Burke should appoint the unsuccessful black associate judge candidates who is the federal prosecutor (sorry, don't remember her name). It would do major strides to fixing the state/federal judicial relations between 50 West and 219 South.

Just saying . . .

Captain Mumia
President of NO Retention 2018

Anonymous said...


I vote to let it ALL in. The good, the bad and the ugly. Let in the racists (black, white and EP). Let in the goofy and clearly incendiary comments meant to stir up trouble. Let in the comments that are sometimes both witty and insightful. Let in the comments clearly calculated to drive you to drink (more?). Let in your tired huddled masses yearning to be judges. Let them all in baby, let the freedom of comments ring and the marketplace of ideas will drum out the flat-earthers and wingnuts. I am a Circuit Judge and I while I didn't hang out with Captains of Industry (as some other anonymous, alleged colleague of mine), I won't be voting for Judge Evans again, either. The simple fact is that the Chief Judge is supposed to be an administrator. Evans can't administer anything. He is a career politician concerned with nothing but retaining his power. He doesn't care if his decisions (or, more likely, INdecisions) hurt the people of this county, particularly those who have historically been hurt the most by our backward governmental policies. This is not a black/white/Latino thing because there are plenty of judges highly qualified to replace him -- black/white/other; male and female alike. So let's start spending the next year talking about who will replace Tim Evans as Chief, since we are all so upset about this Associate Judge list. Here are the MOST qualified people to replace him:

1. Erica Reddick
2. Margaret Brennan
3. Tommy Brewer
4. Cynthia Ramirez
5. Shelly Sutker-Dermer
6. Robert Balanoff
7. Krystal Rivers
8. Sebastian Patti

Let's start having THAT conversation.

Judge Anon

Anonymous said...

I love this part: “You may own the comments as far as content purposes however they are not attributable to you so it has no impact on your reputation.“ Many similar comments 5/21 calling Jack out for such cowardice & over-sensitivity. All signed Anonymous. Folks, if you have mirrors, use them. You’ll see a person worried about leaving his/her name. That person has no business telling Jack to stop worrying about what effect over-the-top vicious anonymous screeds may have on his livelihood as an attorney.

Anonymous said...

I’m sorry, but there is nothing progressive about Injustice Watch. Nothing. If it were, it would have done a story on the dearth of black aj’s elected this go ‘round rather than completely ignoring the issue and instead attacking the only 2 black judges on the short list with antiquated non-issues. Racism wrapped in ersatz liberalism is quite dangerous.

Anonymous said...