Saturday, April 27, 2019

Deadline nears for applications for two subcircuit vacancies

Updated and partially rewritten 4/29/19 to confirm Sen. Mulroe's interest in the appointment to the Allen vacancy.

Tuesday, April 30 at 4:00 p.m. is the deadline for interested persons to submit applications to Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis for appointments to the Allen vacancy in the 10th Subcircuit and the Fleming vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit.

The links in the preceding sentence will take you to press releases announcing each vacancy and details regarding the application process. As with past appointments by Justice Theis, applications are to be reviewed by the special screening committee she set up in 2013.

I have no information about who might be among the favorites for the 8th Subcircuit Fleming vacancy, but I do know that, in his February 27 column, Russ Stewart predicted that State Senator John Mulroe (D-10) would be Allen's "likely replacement" in the 10th Subcircuit.

In a telephone conversation Monday, Sen. Mulroe confirmed that he is seeking the appointment -- but he rejects any speculation that he has the nod. "People in Springfield were calling me 'Judge,'" Mulroe said, "but I told them to knock that stuff off."

It is certainly no sudden whim or impulse; Mulroe has had judicial aspirations for some time. Long-time FWIW readers may also recall that Mulroe sought a 10th Subcircuit vacancy in 2008, losing the race but picking up the endorsements of the Tribune, Sun-Times, and the Chicago Federation of Labor along the way. Mulroe won a contested Democratic primary for the 10th District State Senate seat in 2010. When the incumbent, Sen. James DeLeo, stepped down early, in August 2010, Mulroe was appointed to the vacancy. He then bested 41st Ward Ald. Brian Doherty in the 2010 general election. He was unopposed for reelection in 2016 and currently serves as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

While Sen. Mulroe is taking nothing for granted, admitting only that he may never again have a better opportunity, I personally would be surprised if Justice Theis did not appoint him. If appointed, he would certainly be a formidable candidate in the primary.

Full disclosure: I have also submitted an application for this vacancy, which says something about my sense of timing. Actually, I applied because you can't get what you don't ask for. I ran for a 10th Subcircuit vacancy in 1994... and I suppose I have been running (albeit ineffectively) ever since.