Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Cook County Bar Association to hold Barristers' Sneaker & Masquerade Ball this Friday

The Cook County Bar Association will host a Barristers' Sneaker & Masquerade Ball this Friday, April 1, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., at Taste 222, 222 N. Canal Street. Tickets are $100 each and are available at this link. Bring your vax card with you when you go (or a negative Covid test within the last 48 hours).

There will be contests for best sneakers and best masks. The event flyer is below.
And, yes, sponsorships are still available.

The CCBA is seeking one Platinum (Title Sponsor) for $10,000. Diamond sponsorships are available for $5,000 and Friends of the CCBA sponsorships may be obtained for $1,000. For more information about the sponsorships, and the benefits of each, email Executive Director Cordelia Brown at cbrown@cookcountybar.org.

Three candidates file for two Cook County vacancies on first day of special judicial filing period

As mentioned in the post below, Circuit Court Judge Raymond W. Mitchell filed for the Harris vacancy on the Appellate Court yesterday, the first day of the special judicial filing period.

Two candidates filed for the Callahan vacancy on the Circuit Court, Mary Bernadette McMahon and Suzanne Therese McEneely.

McMahon is an Assistant Cook County State's Attorney, according to ARDC. She was admitted to practice in Illinois in 2005. This is apparently her first attempt at judicial office.

McEneely, on the other hand, was a countywide candidate in the 2020 primary. Admitted to practice in 2001, according to ARDC, she has spent nearly her entire legal career as an Assistant Public Defender.

Interestingly, both of these candidates live within walking distance of each other on Chicago's Northwest Side.

Neither candidate has yet set up a campaign website.

No one has yet filed for the Groebner vacancy in the far northwest suburban 13th Subcircuit. FWIW has received information about four possible candidates, at least three of whom have sought vacancies in that subcircuit previously. No 13th Subcircuit campaign has yet contacted FWIW directly.

Neither of the Cook County Democratic Party's pre-slated alternates for the Harris or Callahan vacancies has yet filed. The special judicial filing period ends April 4.

Mitchell first to file for late-opening Appellate Court vacancy

Cook County Circuit Judge Ray Mitchell filed nominating papers in Springfield first thing yesterday morning for the Harris vacancy on the Illinois Appellate Court. A former partner in the appeals group at Winston & Strawn LLP, Mitchell has been on the bench since 2008 and was elected countywide in 2010. He is assigned to the Chancery Division and, before that, the Law Division.

In a press release issued yesterday, Mitchell is quoted as saying, "Through a remarkable effort from family and friends, we have managed to collect over 20,000 voter signatures in 11 days. That takes organization, hard work and lots of friends."

Mitchell's friends have also set up a campaign website. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence.

According to the statement issued yesterday, Mitchell’s campaign committee is co-chaired by Chicago lawyers Patricia Bobb and Dan Webb. Other high profile committee members include John Cullerton, the past president of the Illinois Senate, and Bill Maddux, the former Presiding Judge of the Law Division.

"I am profoundly grateful and overwhelmed by the support and encouragement from all quarters," Mitchell said in a statement. Service on the Appellate Court would fulfill "a long-cherished dream," he said. "First as a judicial clerk and later as an appellate lawyer, I have spent much of my time in practice in and around courts of review."

Mitchell grew up in the Beverly-Morgan Park neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. He attended St. Cajetan Elementary School and graduated from Brother Rice High School in 1987.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Will defection from alternate slate doom the hopes of some remaining candidates?

The Cook County Officers Electoral Board began its work at a hearing this morning at the County Administration Building. At this initial session hearing officers were assigned to make recommendations on most of the challenges that have been filed to nominating petitions filed by county candidates, including all 21 challenges to Cook County judicial candidates.

Three of those judicial challenges look particularly interesting.

Case no. JUD 06 is brought by Ronald C. De La Cruz and Andrew Reyes against Jacqueline Marie Griffin, candidate for the countywide O'Brien vacancy.

Case no. JUD 17 is brought by Jose Magaña against Monica G. Somerville, candidate for the countywide Cannon vacancy.

Case no. JUD 21 is brought by Thomas R. Elliott and Christian Sorensen against Paul Joyce, candidate for the countywide Lynch vacancy.

These are related cases. Griffin, Somerville, and Joyce were all members of an alternate slate of candidates; they circulated joint petitions.

There were five candidates on this alternate slate: Somerville, Joyce, and Griffin -- and Claudia Silva-Hernandez, who filed for the Sullivan vacancy -- and Elizabeth "Beth" Ryan, who was listed as a candidate for the McGury vacancy.

But Ryan also circulated a separate set of petitions for the countywide Ingram vacancy. That's the vacancy she actually filed for.

Each of these challenges argues that Ryan's defection is fatal to the candidacies of the other challenged members of the alternate slate. Paragraphs 19 and of each of the Objectors' Petitions alleges as follows:
 19. Candidate's Nomination Papers, the joint petition for nomination, fails to contain a Statement of Candidacy and a receipt for Statement of Economic Interests for Ryan.

 20. Candidate's failure to file a Statement of Candidacy and a receipt for Statement of Economic Interests for Ryan renders Candidate's Nomination Papers invalid as a matter of law pursuant to the plain language of Section 5/7-10 of the Illinois Election Code.
I offer no opinion whatsoever on the validity of the objectors' contentions. The three cases have been assigned to the same hearing officer and presumably the candidacies of Somerville, Joyce, and Griffin will stand or fall together.

But even though every other member of her alternate slate was challenged, no objection was filed to the nominating petitions of Claudia Silva-Hernandez. Which are the same petitions filed by Somerville, Joyce, and Griffin.

The Objectors in case nos. JUD 17 and JUD 21 are represented by the same attorney. I have reached out to counsel for any explanation he may have as to why Silva-Hernandez avoided a challenge. Silva-Hernandez faces two opponents in the race for the Sullivan vacancy: Judge Thomas More Donnelly, the Cook County Democratic Party's official choice in the race, and Meridth Vanae Hammer.

Elizabeth "Beth" Ryan faces no challenge in her race for the Ingram vacancy. Her sole opponent is the Party's slated candidate, Yolanda Harris Sayre.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Objections filed to several Cook County judicial nominating petitions

Today was the deadline for filing objections to those Cook County judicial candidates' nominating petitions that came in during the regular filing period.

The initial filing period closed a week ago, on March 14, and there were a number of last-minute filings that came in on that day. Among the last-minute filers was former Judge Jackie Marie Portman-Brown, who was defeated for retention in 2020. But she is not running for her 5th Subcircuit vacancy; she has filed for the Shelley vacancy instead.

There will be a special filing period, starting next Monday, and running to April 4, for three recently opening vacancies, one on the Appellate Court, one countywide Circuit Court vacancy, and one 13th Subcircuit vacancy.

But pending those filings, what follows is a complete list of all other Circuit Court vacancies, countywide and subcircuit. Where an objection has been filed, it is noted by the candidate's name.

Only one Circuit Court candidate -- Iris Y. Chavira, who filed for the Brown vacancy in the 14th Subcircuit -- faces no primary opposition. Her path to the bench is now virtually assured, because no Republican filed for her vacancy.

In fact, no Republican has so far filed for any Cook County judicial vacancy for the 2022 primary. (One or more candidates may file for the 13th Subcircuit vacancy during the special filing period.) That means -- once again -- winners of all, or nearly all, of the Democratic primaries will be unopposed in November. Voters looking to choose judges in Cook County have to take Democratic primary ballots or be effectively disenfranchised.

Some other primary races may wind up unopposed when petition objections are resolved. Readers will notice that every candidate for the Gordon vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit has drawn an objection. Three of the four candidates for the two 6th Subcircuit vacancies have also drawn objections.

More will be forthcoming on these ballot challenges, but, for now, here are the updated candidate lists.

Countywide Vacancies
Brennan Vacancy
Ubi O'Neal
Howard Brookins, Jr.
Lisa Michelle Taylor (filed 3/14)
Cannon Vacancy
Monica G. Somerville -- Objection filed 3/21
Mable Taylor
Diana López
Hyman Vacancy
Elizabeth Anne Karkula -- Obection filed 3/21
Thomas E. Nowinski
Carmen Migdalia Quinones (filed 3/14)
Ingram Vacancy
Elizabeth "Beth" Ryan
Yolanda Harris Sayre
Leeming Vacancy
Wende Williams
Rena Marie Van Tine
Lynch Vacancy
Paul Joyce -- Objection filed 3/21
Deidre Baumann -- Objection filed 3/21
Michael Weaver
McGury Vacancy
Chelsey Renece Robinson
Ruth Isabel Gudino
O'Brien Vacancy
Jacqueline Marie Griffin -- Objection filed 3/21
Araceli R. De La Cruz
Dan Balanoff (filed 3/14)
Sullivan Vacancy
Claudia Silva-Hernandez
Thomas More Donnelly
Meridth Vanae Hammer (filed 3/14)
Subcircuit Vacancies
1st Subcircuit - Johnson Vacancy
John W. Wilson -- Objection filed 3/21
Maria M. Barlow
4th Subcircuit - Gavin Vacancy
Amanda Moira Pillsbury -- Objection filed 3/21
Nick Kantas
4th Subcircuit - Rogers Vacancy
Chloe Georgianna Pedersen
ShawnTe Raines-Welch
Jerry Barrido
Patrick Campanelli (filed 3/14)
5th Subcircuit - Portman-Brown Vacancy
David L. Kelly
Jenetia Marshall (filed 3/14) -- Objection filed 3/21
5th Subcircuit - Shelley Vacancy
Timothy W. Wright III
Judie Lyn Smith (filed 3/14)
Tiffany N. Brooks (filed 3/14)
Jackie Marie Portman-Brown (filed 3/14)
6th Subcircuit - Araujo Vacancy
Charles "Charlie" Beach (filed 3/11) -- Objection filed 3/21
Lori Ann Roeper (filed 3/14) -- Objection filed 3/21
6th Subcircuit - Vega Vacancy
David S. Rodriguez (filed 3/14)
Kerrie Maloney Laytin (filed 3/14) -- Objection filed 3/21
7th Subcircuit - Martin Vacancy
Marcia O'Brien Conway
Owens "Joe" Shelby -- Objection filed 3/21
8th Subcircuit - Gordon Vacancy
Pat Casey -- Objection filed 3/21
Bradley R. Trowbridge -- Objection filed 3/21
John Fritchey (filed 3/14) -- Objection filed 3/21
8th Subcircuit - Lipscomb Vacancy
Stephen Swedlow
Jennifer Bae -- Objection file 3/21
9th Subcircuit - Cleveland Vacancy
Sanjay Tailor
Ann Buran-Vongher (filed 3/14)
9th Subcircuit - Jacobius Vacancy
Don W. Sampen -- Objection filed 3/21
Torrick Alan Ward
Barry Goldberg
Basileios "Bill" John Foutris
11th Subcircuit - McGuire Vacancy
Chris Taliaferro
Aileen Bhandari (filed 3/14)
14th Subcircuit - Brown Vacancy
Iris Y. Chavira
14th Subcircuit - Jagielski Vacancy
Viviana Martinez
Steve Demitro
Jorge V. Cazares (filed 3/14)
15th Subcircuit - Lawler Vacancy
Bernadette Barrett
Jim Gleffe (filed 3/14) -- Objection filed 3/21
Links in this post are to prior FWIW articles about the candidate in question.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Campaign website established for Judge Thomas More Donnelly

A campaign website has been set up in support of Judge Thomas More Donnelly's bid to hold onto the countywide Sullivan vacancy, the seat to which he was recently appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to this site's Sidebar.

Licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1986, according to ARDC, Donnelly served as an associate judge for over 20 years before his appointment to the full circuit vacancy.

According to his campaign bio, Donnelly began his legal career clerking for Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann G. McMorrow. He then worked as an Assistant Public Defender from 1988-2000, according to his campaign bio, concluding his tenure in that office in a number of supervisory positions, including Supervisor of Training, Supervisor Northside Felony and Misdemeanor Courts, and Post-Conviction Supervisor.

Donnelly has taught at Loyola University School of Law and the National Judicial College and as a guest lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, Washington and Lee Law School, Marquette Law School, and Notre Dame University, according to his campaign bio.

A former President of the Catholic Lawyers Guild (in 2015-16), Donnelly has also served as the Vice President of the Greater Rockwell Organization and as a member of the school board at Queen of Angels School. His candidacy has been endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.

Yolanda Harris Sayre campaign website found

Yolanda Harris Sayre, the Cook County Deocratic Party's slated candidate for the countywide Ingram vacancy, now has a campaign website. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the candidate list on this site's Sidebar.

Currently employed as legal counsel for the Illinois State Police, according to her campaign website, Sayre has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1995, according to ARDC.

Sayre worked the Texas Attorney General’s office while still in law school, according to her campaign biography. After graduating from the University of Texas Law School, she was "selected by the Chicago Police Department as an original civilian trainer of Community Policing and Diversity Management."

According to her campaign bio, Sayre was promoted to the position of Attorney in 1999, "becoming the first African American to serve in that position at CPD."

Sayre also served for 10 years as an Administrative Law Judge, presiding at hearings for the Chicago and Cook County Electoral Boards. She also served two years as a contract prosecutor, representing the Illinois Secretary of State in more than 100 formal administrative hearings, according to her campaign bio.

A member of the Executive Board member of the Illinois Association of Administrative Law Judges, Sayre is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and, according to her campaign bio, has coordinated many community service initiatives including projects in several villages in Africa.

Sayre was the fifth alternate chosen by the Cook County Democratic Party in the 2020 election cycle.

Campaign website up and running for Howard B. Brookins, Jr.

A campaign website has been launched in support of the countywide judicial campaign of 21st Ward Ald. Howard B. Brookins, Jr. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the candidate list in this site's Sidebar.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1988, according to ARDC, Brookins practices law from an office in Chicago's Loop. He is serving his 5th term as alderperson, according to his campaign website.

Brookins has also served, according to his campaign website, as an Assistant Cook County State's Attorney, as an Assistant Public Defender, and as a Special Assistant Attorney General.

According to his campaign bio, Brookins has overseen "the growth and development of the 83rd Street Business Corridor, which houses the Walmart Shopping center, Lowes, Aldi’s and many other banks, restaurants and businesses." He also claims credit "for the renovations of the Woodson Regional Library, Studio Movie Grill, and the 87th Street Red Line Station."

Brookins is a member of "numerous social and professional associations," according to his campaign website, including Prince Hall Mason Eureka Lodge #64, the Board of Directors for Community Media Workshop, the Board of Directors for Northern Illinois Alumni, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

This is Brookins' second run for judge. He filed for a 2nd Subcircuit vacancy in the 2018 election cycle, but was removed from the ballot. In his present campaign for the countywide Breenan vacancy, Brookins enjoys the endorsement of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Friday, March 18, 2022

212 apply for Cook County associate judge

FWIW readers will note a great many familiar names on this list of Cook County associate judge hopefuls, obtained today from the Office of Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans.

Many current judicial candidates, including a number of judges serving pursuant to Supreme Court appointment, are on this list. Many former candidates have also applied.

Here is the complete list:
  1. Aakre, Amrith Kaur
  2. Adams, David Charles
  3. Ahmad, Mohammad Abedelal
  4. Ahuja, Loveleen Kaur
  5. Bae, Jennifer Eun
  6. Bahena, Hilda
  7. Bailey, Gregory Shawn
  8. Barrido, Jerome Celis
  9. Baumann, Deidre
  10. Becker, George E.
  11. Bhandari, Aileen
  12. Bhave, Sunil Shashikant
  13. Bisceglia, Joell Claire
  14. Blanchard, Patrick Malone
  15. Blazicek, Michael Kenneth
  16. Blinick, Robert Kendall
  17. Boyd Odom, Timijanel
  18. Brassil, John Hugh
  19. Brevard, Jullian Howard
  20. Brooks, Tiffany N.
  21. Callahan, Jennifer Patricia
  22. Callahan, Tracy Michele
  23. Carroll, Brian William
  24. Carroll, John P.
  25. Casey, Carol Anne
  26. Castillo, Melba Aguda
  27. Castillo, Nicole
  28. Cazares, Jorge V.
  29. Cenar, Richard George
  30. Clewis, Scott Richard
  31. Cohen, Christopher Bittel
  32. Coleman, Jennifer Frances
  33. Coleman-Romeo, Arlene Yvette
  34. Colucci, Vincent V.
  35. Comstock, Thomas Matthew
  36. Condon, Thomas Joseph
  37. Conway, Marcia O’Brien
  38. Cooper, Christopher Chriss
  39. Corbin, Torrie Luciana
  40. Cosgrove, Audrey Victoria
  41. Crawley, James Patrick
  42. Curran, Kevin Patrick
  43. Cyrus, Rocell Jennal
  44. Daday, Stephen Gerard
  45. Danaher, Richard G.
  46. deCastro, Pablo F.
  47. De La Cruz, Araceli Reyes
  48. De Matteo, Gabriel Joseph
  49. Demitro, Steve
  50. Desai, Debjani Dasgupta
  51. Dibler, Elizabeth Christina
  52. Dolan, Alice Elizabeth
  53. Donoghue, Gerald Thomas
  54. Drake, Gwendolyn Elizabeth
  55. Duffy, Cristin
  56. Duhig, Kathleen Farrell
  57. Dunlap, Charnelle Denise
  58. Dyer, Deidre Myra
  59. Elrabadi, Naderh Hana
  60. Erickson, Jon Forrest
  61. Farmakis, Athena
  62. Farrell, Daniel Jordan
  63. Fiaoni, Karla Marie
  64. Finkle, Lester Wolfe
  65. Fournier, Koula A.
  66. Fowler, Philip John
  67. Fransene, Sarah Lynne
  68. Frentzas, Athena James
  69. Fritchey, John Alden
  70. Galhotra, Kulmeet Singh
  71. Gemskie, Michele Ann
  72. George Stewart, Ava Monique
  73. Glennon, Caroline Gale
  74. Goldberg, Barry Steven
  75. Goldman, Jonathan Samuel
  76. Goldstein, Aaron Benjamin
  77. Gonzalez, Dawn Marie
  78. Gordan, Elias Martin
  79. Greenspan, David Benjamin
  80. Grgurovic, Sara Bloom
  81. Griffin, Jacqueline Marie
  82. Groszek, Robert Pawel
  83. Gudino, Ruth Isabel
  84. Heggie, Corinne Cantwell
  85. Henry, Jeffrey Thomas
  86. Herzberg, Steven
  87. Hodal, Joseph Anthony
  88. Holleb Hotaling, Keri Leilani
  89. Holtkamp, Katie Mary
  90. Hourihane, John Nahum
  91. Jenkins, Haley Renee
  92. Jenkins-Wright, Kenya Alicia
  93. Jha, Lakshmi Elkhanialy
  94. John, Patrick Dankwa
  95. Johnson, Sarah Anne
  96. Jones, Celeste Kathleen
  97. Kantas, Nicholas Alexander
  98. Kanter, Sharon Arnold
  99. Kartsounis, Michael James
  100. Katubig, Belle Lourdes
  101. Kelly, David Lewis
  102. Kelly, Michael William
  103. Kent, Heather Anne
  104. Knibbs, James John
  105. Kosoko, Ahmed Ademola
  106. Kummer, Scott William
  107. Levin, Lawrence Wolf
  108. Liberman, Moshe Menachem
  109. Lindsay, Camile Jessica
  110. Loftus, Thomas Jerome
  111. Lucafo, Anthony Dominick
  112. Maloney, Edward James
  113. Manaster, Sylvie Gordon
  114. Marcin, Mary B.
  115. Marks, Alexander David
  116. Marshall, Jenetia Michelle
  117. Martinez, Viviana
  118. McCarthy, Maria Christine
  119. McConville, Terrence James
  120. McKenzie, Steven Quaintance
  121. McMahon, William John
  122. McNamara, Peter Conrad
  123. Meczyk, Ralph Eugene
  124. Medley, Monique Michelle
  125. Melchor, Mary Alice
  126. Moltz, Ira Alexander
  127. Moore, Marion Claire
  128. Morris, Tisa Lynne
  129. Murphy-Aguilu, James Stephen
  130. Murphy III, James Vincent
  131. Murphy, Julie Ann
  132. Murphy, Meghan Marie
  133. Nguyen, Chau Tu
  134. Nikolic, Jr., Daniel Peter
  135. Norris, Scott
  136. Nowinski, Thomas Edward
  137. O’Brien, Kimberly Atz
  138. Ochalla, Kevin John
  139. Odom, Ginger Leigh
  140. Olshansky, David Scott
  141. O’Malley, Michael I.
  142. Ostojic, Radusa
  143. Pappas, Nickolas George
  144. Patel, Shilpa C.
  145. Pattarozzi, Michael Nando
  146. Patterson, Monique Leneé
  147. Payne, Litricia Pauline
  148. Pedersen, Chloe Georgianna
  149. Peterson, Krista Susan
  150. Peterson, Randalyn “Randi” Lawrence
  151. Pillsbury, Amanda Moira
  152. Planey, Mary Anna
  153. Polak, Katherine
  154. Porter, Arlette G.
  155. Porter, Brian Randall
  156. Ragen, William Reidy
  157. Reyna, Mariano Ricardo
  158. Rice, Ashonta Cherron
  159. Rivera, Antara Nath
  160. Roach, Steven Robert
  161. Rodgers, Anne McCord
  162. Rodriguez, Federico Martin
  163. Roe-Taylor, Parle M.
  164. Roleck, David Michael
  165. Ross, Curtis Bennett
  166. Ruffin, Anthony
  167. Ryan, Elizabeth Condron
  168. Saindon, Pamela
  169. Saltouros, Demetreos Ted
  170. Sampen, Don R.
  171. Sanders, Catherine Dorothy
  172. Santana, Jaime Rafael
  173. Schneider, Margaret Elizabeth
  174. Schroeder, David Edwin
  175. Sevandal Cohen, Mary Melanie
  176. Shelby, Owens Joseph
  177. Simmons-Ford, Jade Ginese
  178. Smith, Judie Lyn
  179. Smuda, Joan Ellen
  180. Solomon, Donald Scott
  181. Somerville, Monica Gail
  182. Spencer, Smith
  183. Stein, Alon
  184. Stein, Giel
  185. Stokas, Robert Michael
  186. Strom, Michael Alan
  187. Stromsta, Jon Karl
  188. Studenroth, David Lawrence
  189. Sullivan, Peter
  190. Telander, Brad S.
  191. Toller, Natosha Cuyler
  192. Toussaint, Marie Lynn
  193. Trowbridge, Bradley R.
  194. Tully, John J.
  195. Tyner, Randall Louis
  196. Tzinberg, Scott William
  197. Vazquez, Lucesther
  198. Verges, Jack G.
  199. Vines, Michael James
  200. Waller, Vincent David
  201. Ward, Torrick Alan
  202. Weaver, Michael Wesley
  203. Weiss, Felicia Nurmi
  204. Wichern, Nadine Jean
  205. Wilensky, Steven Alan
  206. Willis, Julie Elizabeth
  207. Wilson, John Wellington
  208. Winslow, Timothy Felix
  209. Wright III, Timothy W.
  210. Zaryczny, Catherine Anna
  211. Zuckerman, Michael Alan
  212. Zughayer, Nader Mufid

Private services for former Cook County Public Defender Abishi C. Cunningham, Jr.

Cook County judges were informed earlier this week of the passing of former Judge Abishi C. Cunningham Jr.

Cunningham served as a judge from 1986 to 2009. He then served as the Cook County Public Defender from 2009 to 2015.

Cunningham was a graduate of Fisk University and Northwestern Law School. He had been an adjunct professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was also an adjunct professor at the DePaul University School of Law and the former John Marshall School of Law.

Services were private.

New countywide vacancy creates opportunity for Judge Tracie Porter

An 11th hour countywide vacancy opened up this week as Judge John P. Callahan, Jr. announced his retirement in time for the vacancy to be posted during the special judicial filing period.

Callahan's vacancy opens a path for Judge Tracie R. Porter, who was appointed by the Supreme Court to fill the countywide Hyman vacancy, to remain on the bench.

Porter was not slated for any existing vacancy when the Cook County Democratic Party announced its judicial endorsements, but she was named first alternate, effectively 'pre-slated' if a new vacancy were to open up. Now one has, and at the last possible moment.

Porter, and any persons challenging her for this vacancy, face the daunting task of collecting, assembling, and filing their nominating petitions between March 28 and April 4.

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Callahan to a countywide vacancy in 2009. He was slated for a countywide vacancy by the Cook County Democratic Party within a week. Elected in 2010, Callahan was retained in 2016. He would have been up for retention this year. According to the Circuit Court's website, Callahan has been serving as a trial judge in the Law Division.

Monday, March 14, 2022

CONFIRMED: Second Appellate Court vacancy in Cook County

FWIW has now confirmed that Illinois Appellate Court Justice Sheldon A. (Shelly) Harris has resigned, effective December 4, 2022.

This pending resignation creates a second Appellate Court vacancy to be filled in the 2022 election. Candidates for this vacancy will have to file their petitions during the special judical filing period, between March 28 and April 4.

Cook County Judge John Ehrlich was named the first alternate by the Cook County Democratic Party in the event that an additional vacancy opened on the Illinois Appellate Court; Ehrlich is effectively now slated for this new opening.

Justice Harris was elected to the Illinois Appellate Court in 2014. He has served on that court since 2010.

Aileen Bhandari files for 11th Subcircuit vacancy

Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Aileen Bhandari has today filed her nominating petitions for the McGuire vacancy in the 11th Subcircuit.

Licensed in Illinois since 2002, according to ARDC, Bhandari was a finalist for associate judge in in 2019. She was also a candidate for a countywide vacancy in the 2020 primary.

The only other candidate in this race (so far) is 29th Ward Ald. Chris Taliaferro.

Campaign website launched for Judge David L. Kelly

A campaign website has been established for 5th Subcircuit candidate David L. Kelly. That's a link to the website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the Sidebar on this site.

Kelly has filed for the Portman-Brown vacancy in the 5th Subcircuit. The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Kelly to that vacancy last summer.

Judge Kelly has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2001, according to ARDC. According to his campaign biography, Kelly was a Supervising Administrative Law Judge for the State of Illinois prior to his appointment. He began his legal career as an Assistant Cook County State's Attorney.

Kelly sought a 5th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2018 primary. According to his campaign biography, Kelly has been an Adjunct Professor at the Loyola School of Law, teaching first year law students Professional Identity Formation, a class focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion and implicit bias in the law. He was one of the founding attorneys for the legal clinic at his church, the Apostolic Faith Church, and he has coached little league baseball.

Pi Day -- and important deadlines day, too

Yes, today is 3/14 -- Pi Day.

In addition, today also marks a couple of big deadlines for the Mel Brooks Birthday Primary: First, today is the last day for candidates to file for existing Cook County judicial vacancies.

There will almost certainly be significant filings later this afternoon. There may even be some hanging back as candidates vie for the last ballot position in some races.

Seasoned political operatives have long believed that being last on the ballot is almost as good as being first. It is certainly Biblical -- the last shall be first -- but, alas, as longtime FWIW readers will recall, Dr. Albert J. Klumpp's exhaustive analyses of Cook County judicial races has shown no particular statistical adavantage to being last on the ballot in any given race. Look for a flurry of last-minute filings anyway.

There have been a couple of 6th Subcircuit filings, finally. Associate Judge Charles "Charlie" Beach filed for the Araujo vacancy on Friday; David S. Rodriguez filed for the Vega vacancy this morning, just before 9:00 a.m.

The other deadline today is for the special judicial vacancies filing period. There seems no non-awkward grammatical way to put that. But judicial vacancies occurring after February 21 and up to and including today will be filled in the 2022 election. The filing period for any vacancies occuring during this interval begins March 28 (and ends April 4).

So any judge who properly advises today that he or she will step down before the first Monday in December of this year will create a vacancy as of today, even though he or she may continue in office until whatever retirement date was specified. The Supreme Court can not fill a vacancy with a temporary appointment until the judge who is leaving actually goes, but the vacancy exists nonetheless.

So far, as of this morning, the only published vacancy occurring during the special filing period on the Illinois State Board of Elections website is that of the late Susanne M. Groebner in the 13th Subcircuit.

Word reached FWIW over the weekend, however, of a potential Appellate Court vacancy that may be added.

Truth be told, "Anonymous" litters my comment queue every day with rumors of this person's retirement, or that person's death. With the indictment of former House Speaker Madison, the number of these arguably libelous would-be comments has increased dramatically.

In stark contrast, the report I received this weekend of a possible second Appellate Court vacancy is from a credible source. I just haven't been able to confirm it yet. (And, interestingly, the report does not involve any of the several persons that "Anonymous" has named.) When I can confirm it, or it is made public, I will report it.

But, if there is a second Appellate Court vacancy, Judge John Ehrlich would be the Cook County Democratic Party's pre-slated candidate -- and he has already committed at least $110,000 to his election effort.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

6th Subcircuit situation provides opportunity to explain what is news and what is not news

Learning how to read the news, especially online, is an increasingly necessary skill, one that should perhaps be taught in schools.

There's always been the problem of separating solid, factual reporting from misinformation and downright lies. But, added to that, is the problem that people who undertake to report on a subject sometimes don't know the subject well enough to distinguish between what is news and what is normal.

Here's an old, but useful, definition of news: Dog bites man is not news; man bites dog is. (For more than you ever wanted to know about the origin of that saying, click here.)

A more contemporary example, and one particularly relevant to this site, might be this: When no Republicans file for any Cook County judicial vacancy, that is not news -- but when no one at all files for either 6th Subcircuit vacancy, that is news. Over the past several election cycles, when there have been 6th Subcircuit vacancies, those races have drawn a great many candidates.

And, yet, as of this writing (and I just checked again) no one has filed petitions to run for either 6th Subcircuit vacancy in the June 28 Democratic Primary.

That's not something one would expect. That, therefore, is news.

FWIW has learned that there are at least four candidates eyeing the two 6th Subcircuit races. According to multiple sources, two associate judges, Charles S. Beach and Kerrie Maloney Laytin, are circulating petitions, as are David Rodriguez, an employee of the Circuit Court Clerk's Office and Assistant Public Defender Lori Roper.

Rodriguez filed for a 6th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2020 primary but was not on the primary ballot.

Roper sought a countywide vacancy in 2018. In this cycle she has already picked up an endorsement from the 40th Ward Democratic Organization.

Beach became an associate judge in 2018. He was a candidate for a 6th Subcircuit vacancy earlier that same year.

Laytin was one of the associate judges selected just last Fall. She was a candidate for a countywide vacancy in the 2020 primary.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Torrick Alan Ward campaign website found

A campaign website has been found for Torrick Alan Ward, candidate for the Jacobius vacancy in the 9th Subcircuit. That's a link to the webiste in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the site Sidebar.

Licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1998, according to ARDC, Ward currently works for Cook County overseeing labor matters. He was one of the many candidates presenting credentials to the Cook County Democratic Party at last fall's pre-slating meeting. His LinkedIn page says that he has been an adjunct at DePaul University Law School since 2011.

Why FWIW will cover Downstate Supreme Court races in this election cycle

The State of Illinois is divided into five judicial districts. Article VI, Section 2 of the 1970 Illinois Constitution declares Cook County to be the First Judicial District. Cook County elects three justices of the seven-person Illinois Supreme Court. All the current Cook County justices were elected as Democrats; for the foreseeable future, and maybe just a bit beyond, all likely future Cook County justices will be elected as Democrats, too.

But while the reliable Democratic voting population is not packed exclusively into Cook County, it is by far the richest available source of Democratic votes in Illinois. In last year's redistricting, mapmakers looking to secure the hegemony of the Democratic Party in Congressional and General Assembly Districts sliced deeply into Cook County as necessary to create as many favorable districts as possible.

However, when it comes to drawing judicial maps, because of the language of our Constitution, the First Judicial District is not available for vote mining. And Article VI, Section 2 further provides that "the other four districts [must have] substantially equal population, each of which shall be compact and composed of contiguous counties."

Until last year, the last successful redrawing of the Judicial District (Supreme Court) boundaries came in 1964.

The indivisibility of Cook County was only one of the problems that bedeviled would-be judical mapmakers. The other practical consideration was created by Article VI, Section 6 of the 1970 Constitution. This provision provides, in pertinent part, "Appeals from final judgments of a Circuit Court are a matter of right to the Appellate Court in the Judicial District in which the Circuit Court is located...." Thus, all counties in a single circuit had to be in the same judicial district, too.

It wasn't too many years ago that Lake and McHenry Counties together comprised the 19th Circuit Court. Will County was joined by Kankakee and Iriquois Counties in the old 12th Circuit, and Kane, DeKalb, and Kendall Counties together made up the 16th Circuit. All those collar counties now are stand-alone circuits, as DuPage has been for some time. These smaller building blocks were then available to build new Judicial Districts, should ever the need arise.

But there was no immediate hurry, from a purely partisan point of view. The Democrats enjoyed at least a 4-3 majority on the Illinois Supreme Court in recent decades. While the 2nd and 4th Districts produced justices with Republican Party credentials, the 5th District could, and did, elect Democrats from time to time. And, in 2000, the 3rd District, once thought safely Republican, elected Justice Tom Kilbride. He was retained in 2010 -- but not in 2020.

Unless the lines for the judicial districts were redrawn, there was a good chance that Justice Kilbride's successor would be elected as a Republican, tipping the Supreme Court's balance to 4-3 Republican.
Like seemingly everywhere else in America, partisan divisions in Illinois have become increasingly pronounced. Outside the collar counties the state is increasingly Republican. Inside Cook County, elected Republicans, at any level, are becoming increasingly scarce.

The collar counties are in something of a flux. They all went for Republican Bruce Rauner in the 2014 gubernatorial race -- but (except for McHenry) they all went for Pritzker in the 2018 race. And none of them (except McHenry) went for Trump in 2016 or 2020 -- but was that Trump or trend?

The Supreme Court races, in the newly drawn 2nd and 3rd Judicial Districts, will go a long way toward answering that question.

As redrawn, the 2nd and 3rd Judicial Districts are much smaller geographically; between them, they divide up the collar counties. The 2nd Judicial District now consists of DeKalb, Kendall, Kane, Lake, and McHenry Counties, while the 3rd Judicial District now is made up of Bureau, LaSalle, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, DuPage and Will Counties. While neither will be a sure thing, based on recent results in statewide races, both these new judicial districts may elect justices nominated by the Democratic Party. (It's interesting to note that the old collar county circuits, though they could have been broken up for this redistricting, were not in fact broken up.)

I'm guessing that the smart political people think that, of the two new districts, the 2nd Judicial District is more likely to place a Democrat on the Supreme Court. Thus, in Shia Kapos' Politico - Illinois Playbook this morning, she carries this "scoop" about polling results in the 2nd Judicial District (emphases in original):
According to a polling memo shared with Playbook, the race to fill the Illinois Supreme court seat in the new 2nd District remains a toss-up. The poll, conducted by Brian Stryker’s Impact Research for candidate Elizabeth Rochford, shows a virtual tie. If the election were held today, Rochford would get 12 percent of the vote, to Rene Cruz’s 11 percent, Nancy Rotering’s 10 percent, and 67 percent undecided. All of the candidates are within the margin of error.

The polling memo says Rochford passes her competitors when respondents learn that she's a Lake County Circuit Court judge and Rotering is mayor of Highland Park: Rochford gets 40 percent to Rotering’s 19 percent. Cruz, a Kane County Circuit Court judge, likely isn’t included in the polling memo because he’s trailing in fundraising. The point being, candidates need money and messaging to get their names before voters for the June 28 primary.
There are those who will look at all this partisan maneuvering and scoff: Judges are not simply precinct captains with gavels, they may say, and their party 'labels' are not relevant to the jobs they are elected to do.

I agree. If it were up to me, judges would be elected through a non-partisan primary process. It staggers the imagination that Chicago alderpersons are officially elected on a "non-partisan" basis and Cook County judges are not.

However, in the real world, partisan loyalty is part of the judicial election process and can (or at least can help) get a wannabe a seat in Traffic Court. I think those that move ahead in the judiciary are those that can leave raw partisanship furthest behind, so that party labels should matter least in a race for the Illinois Supreme Court. However, as my commenters periodically remind me, no one cares what I think. Moreover, millions of dollars are going to be spent in these two Supreme Court races precisely because some people, and perhaps a great many, think that party labels are critically important on the Illinois Supreme Court.

So we will look at the races for the 2nd and 3rd Judicial Districts here on FWIW as time permits.

Photo of petitions filed by Cook County Democratic Party's judicial slate

Ripped off from Thomas Nowinski's Facebook page.

The sheer size of the stack may helps explains yesterday's issues about getting the candidates' filings posted on the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Monday, March 07, 2022

Cook County Subcircuit candidates... so far

If you can believe the website at the Illinois State Board of Elections (and, after this morning, that may be more of a real issue than I thought) things have really quieted down in Springfield. During this lull, let's look at the candidates (so far) for Cook County Subcircuit vacancies:

The big story here has to be that nobody has filed yet for either of the 6th Subcircuit vacancies.

But let's look, first, at who has filed for what:
1st Subcircuit - Johnson Vacancy
John W. Wilson
Maria M. Barlow
4th Subcircuit - Gavin Vacancy
Amanda Moira Pillsbury
Nick Kantas
4th Subcircuit - Rogers Vacancy
Chloe Georgianna Pedersen
ShawnTe Raines-Welch
Jerry Barrido
5th Subcircuit - Portman-Brown Vacancy
David L. Kelly
5th Subcircuit - Shelley Vacancy
Timothy W. Wright III
7th Subcircuit - Martin Vacancy
Marcia O'Brien Conway
Owens "Joe" Shelby
8th Subcircuit - Gordon Vacancy
Pat Casey
Bradley R. Trowbridge
8th Subcircuit - Lipscomb Vacancy
Stephen Swedlow
Jennifer Bae
9th Subcircuit - Cleveland Vacancy
Sanjay Tailor
9th Subcircuit - Jacobius Vacancy
Don W. Sampen
Torrick Alan Ward
Barry Goldberg
Basileios "Bill" John Foutris
11th Subcircuit - McGuire Vacancy
Chris Taliaferro
14th Subcircuit - Brown Vacancy
Iris Y. Chavira
14th Subcircuit - Jagielski Vacancy
Viviana Martinez
Steve Demitro
15th Subcircuit - Lawler Vacancy
Bernadette Barrett
Links in this post are to prior FWIW articles about the candidate in question.

Three candidates so far for the Appellate Court; contests in every countywide race

Judge Debra B. Walker (campaign website), former Judge Russell "Russ" Hartigan, and Judge Dominique C. Ross (campaign website) all filed for the Appellate Court's Hall vacancy this morning. All are in the lottery for the top spot on the June primary ballot.

At this very early stage there are also more than one hopeful for each of the nine countywide Circuit Court vacancies. Each of these candidates qualified for the ballot lottery:
Brennan Vacancy
Ubi O'Neal
Howard Brookins, Jr.
Cannon Vacancy
Monica G. Somerville
Mable Taylor
Diana López
Hyman Vacancy
Elizabeth Anne Karkula
Thomas E. Nowinski
Ingram Vacancy
Elizabeth "Beth" Ryan
Yolanda Harris Sayre
Leeming Vacancy
Wende Williams
Rena Marie Van Tine
Lynch Vacancy
Paul Joyce
Deidre Baumann
Michael Weaver
McGury Vacancy
Chelsey Renece Robinson
Ruth Isabel Gudino
O'Brien Vacancy
Jacqueline Marie Griffin
Araceli R. De La Cruz
Sullivan Vacancy
Claudia Silva-Hernandez
Thomas More Donnelly
Links above are to prior FWIW articles.

There may be more candidates for any of these vacancies -- filing remains open until next Monday -- and there are a number of prersons who have announced candidacies but did not file this morning -- but these are the ones who have filed so far.

And, as I mentioned earlier today, filing (even filing when the doors open) carries with it no guarantee that one will actually make the ballot. Some of these candidates may have to deal with challenges to their petitions going forward.

Chicago Bar Association searching for new Judicial Evaluation Committee Administrator

The Chicago Bar Association is searching for a new Administrator for its Judicial Evaluation Committee: After many years of great (and often thankless) service, Therese Kurth is retiring.

Information about the position, and instructions on how to apply, are available at this link.

The CBA provided this summary of its expectations for the JEC Administrator:
The Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC) Administrator coordinates and administers all activities related to the Judicial Evaluation Committee, the JEC Appellate Review Committee and related committees. The JEC Administrator is responsible for maintaining all committee records, including confidential judicial questionnaires and forms, committee resolutions and guidelines, and committee rosters. The JEC Administrator is responsible for communicating with judges, judicial candidates, and committee members at all phases of the judicial evaluation process including in the distribution and collection of confidential questionnaires, the assignment of investigators and completion of the investigation, the coordination of judicial evaluation hearings, and the notification of the evaluation findings to candidates.

Order is restored in the universe: Cook County Democratic Party slated judicial candidate petitions were filed at 8:00 a.m.

So the time-stamp now says on the ISBE website. The slate wasn't there at 11:00 a.m., even though post-8:00 a.m. petitions were being posted on the ISBE site. But it's there now.

I just put through a comment from (who else?) Anonymous who said, in pertinent part, "It's taking the ISBE a long time to load the 'mega' slate petitions. But rest assured, the Cook County Democratic Party Countywide Slate filed today at 8:00 AM."

Technical difficulties is the explanation, then. If I learn something more, I will share. Meanwhile, we move on.

"Who wants to get tattoos everywhere except our faces in case we need to get office jobs!"

After viewing this Save the Date poster from the Illinois Bar Foundation, the above quote from Trolls World Tour just seemed very appropriate.

Anyway, you have the date (April 7) and the place (the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St., Chicago). Rock on.

NOT reading anything into this -- but....

The Illinois State Board of Elections has begun posting post-8:00 a.m. petition filings.

That should mean -- it has meant in the past -- that it has processed all petition filings for those in line when the doors opened.

But... looking at the list... looking at the list again... the candidates on the Cook County Democratic Party's judicial slate aren't on the candidate list.

Perhaps there are technical difficulties at the ISBE. Perhaps I'm misinterpreting the information made public. Or -- maybe -- there was a decision made not to file the petitions for the slate for some reason? I've launched queries and will update as necessary.

Everyone in line when the doors opened this morning was first in line

Long-time FWIW readers know this already of course, but new persons visit in every new election cycle.

If six candidates for the Smith vacancy were in line when the doors opened this morning, all six will have an equal shot at the top ballot line in the primary. A lottery to determine ballot order will be held by the Illinois State Board of Elections on or before March 23.

There have been persistent rumors that Cook County judicial candidate filings will be down this year, perhaps dramatically so, because of the difficulties of getting signatures during a Covid winter. But we will have the facts soon enough.

As this is written, the ISBE is still posting filings from persons in line when the doors opened, 232 at last check (moments ago). When the blizzard of paper subsides in Springfield, we'll be able to look here at who filed and for what vacancy. I've already seen at least some unfamiliar names (unfamiliar to me, anyway).

Of course, preparing and filing petitions, as Herculean a task as it may have seemed for the persons doing the work, is merely the first step toward securing a spot on the June 28 primary ballot. For some, it will be the only step required.

But nearly all the petitions filed this morning will be scrutinized carefully by or on behalf of persons interested in weeding out their competitors. Objections will be filed against some on or before the March 21 deadline. And then those candidates will have to survive those petition challenges in order to make it to the ballot. Some will not.

So there is relief this morning for those who made it to Springfield in time. But, for some, it will be only a temporary respite.

Friday, March 04, 2022

Advocates Society to host a Pulaski Day luncheon

For those not in Springfield on Monday, March 7 (or possibly for those who get through the doors at the ISBE quickly and make great time coming back), the Advocates Society is hosting a Pulaski Day commemoration at Smak Tak Restaurant, 5961 N. Elston Ave, starting at 1:00 p.m.

Ordinarily closed Mondays, Smak Tak is opening its doors especially for this Advocates function.

No registration is required for this "pay as you go" social occasion. Participants will receive individual bills for food ordered.

Smak Tak allows BYOB.

Illinois Courts Commission to hire Executive Director and General Counsel

A March 2 press release from the Illinois Courts Commission:
The Illinois Courts Commission is seeking applicants for the position of Executive Director and General Counsel. The selected candidate will serve as the head of the agency and will supervise its day-to-day operations.

The Commission is the state’s judicial disciplinary body under Article VI, Section 15 of the Illinois Constitution. Containing members drawn from the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court, and the Circuit Court, as well as public members who are not judges, the Commission decides complaints brought by the Judicial Inquiry Board against judges alleged to have committed misconduct or to be physically or mentally unable to perform their duties.

“It is important that the public knows that the judiciary values ethics and takes it very seriously,” said Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis, Chair of the Courts Commission. “Public confidence in our courts requires a robust judicial disciplinary system, overseen by an effective leader. Today’s announcement by the Commission demonstrates its commitment to hiring such a person.” Administrative duties for the Commission previously fell to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. However, an appropriation by the Illinois Legislature has made it possible for the Commission to hire staff, procure office space, and become the “independent Courts Commission” intended by the Constitution.

The title of “Executive Director and General Counsel” reflects the range of responsibilities that the newly created position will encompass. The role’s administrative responsibilities will include administering the Commission’s docket of cases involving complaints filed by the Judicial Inquiry Board, ensuring that the Commission’s procedures and decisions are readily available to judges and the public, and responding to inquiries from judges, lawyers, the public, and the media. As General Counsel, the individual will prepare memoranda for the members of the Commission, help draft opinions, and serve as the Commission’s lawyer.

The Executive Director and General Counsel will have an office at the Commission’s headquarters in Chicago. A full job description and application information are included with this press release and are also available on the Commission website at www.IllinoisCourtsCommission.gov. A completed application form with cover letter, curriculum vitae, writing sample, and the names and contact information of three (3) professional references must be submitted via the Commission website by 5 p.m. Friday, April 8, 2022.

For further information, the Commission may be contacted at info@IllinoisCourtsCommission.gov.

Thursday, March 03, 2022

Deadline is today to file for Associate Judge

As if 2022 Cook County judicial candidates didn't already have enough on their plates, given that petition filing opens in Springfield Monday morning, the deadline to electronically file for the 10 announced Cook County associate judge vacancies is tonight at 11:59 p.m. (If mailed or hand-delivered, the deadline is today at 5:00 p.m.).

Nevertheless, you can bet your last farthing that a great many judicial hopefuls will take time from arranging their petitions to also submit applications. There will be a lot of names on both candidate lists.

Mine won't be on either of them.

I will admit that, when the current AJ vacancies were announced so soon after the last class was sworn in, I was a bit intrigued.

As Adlai Stevenson III famously said, in August 1985, when asked whether he would run against Gov. James Thompson again in 1986, "I have to say the sap is rising."

Stevenson's bucolic reference was entirely appropriate -- and completely, and deliberately, misunderstood.

And that was long before Twitter.

I haven't entirely lost interest in one day serving as a judge. But I have long since lost interest in hopeless quests. There may well be one "old person" slot in this next AJ class; there often seems to be one. But I have no assurance -- no expectation -- not even a suggestion -- that I might be chosen for that spot. And I don't really want to count up the number of times I've applied since 2000 -- and never even got to the short list.

Mind you, I don't pine for the days when one would get a life-changing phone call from the Fifth Floor. I've been around for long enough that I have met some of those who got that call. I even know someone who claims to have gotten that call, and turned the opportunity down.

(Yeah, I'm skeptical, too. But... fact is... Illinois judicial salaries were not always as generous as they are now.)

In any event, I would never have gotten such a call. If such calls were still made, I'd never get such a call. Why should I be nostalgic for that?

But I'm pretty sure that no one individual can realistically make such a phone call today. For even one candidate. I'm also pretty sure that a lot of my brother and sister lawyers have been assured otherwise. I wish them all well. Even though I know that only disappointment awaits for most.

I'll put up the AJ applicant list as soon as I can.

Initial thoughts on the occasion of Mr. Madigan's indictment

FWIW readers can access the 106-page indictment against the former House Speaker by clicking here.

At least that's the plan. If my techological skills have once again failed me, readers can nevertheless find the indictment by following links from yesterday's press release from the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

The gentleman at right is not Mr. Madigan, of course.

He is in fact General George B. McClellan, one-time Commanding General of the U.S. Army, the Democratic nominee for President in 1864, and, until yesterday at least, the figure from history who most reminded me of Michael J. Madigan.

McClellan built and shaped and nutured the enormous Army of the Potomac out of eager, but raw, volunteers. He had remarkable skills in logistics: McClellan's troops were well-supplied, well-equipped, well-drilled -- but they were hardly ever used.

If only McClellan had been chief of staff to a better general, one who knew how to use the machine McClellan made for its intended purpose of restoring the Union, McClellan might be regarded today as among the greatest heroes of the Republic. But it was not to be: Even when he had in his hands Lee's written deployment instructions for the invasion of Maryland (Special Order 191), the best he could do, at the Battle of Antietam, was fight Lee to a draw.

Madigan built a great army, too. Two great armies, perhaps: His supermajority in the Illinois House of Representatives and the army of volunteers and staff that delivered votes for that supermajority. Madigan was either the greatest cartographer of our age or he showed great managerial skill in recognizing and promoting cartographic talent in others. Either way, he deserves credit for the Illinois legislative maps that were drawn. In 2014, for example, when Bruce Rauner won 50.3% of the vote and was elected Governor of the State of Illinois (carrying every Illinois county except Cook), Madigan retained a 71-vote supermajority in the Illinois House, just more than 60% of the total membership, on only 50.49% of the statewide party vote.

Any candidate recruited by Mr. Madigan for a House district worked that district, door-to-door, day in and day out, long, long before any votes were cast. Madigan candidates (and their handlers) took extensive note of what their would-be constitutents wanted, and what they feared, and then (at least according to his critics) preyed on those fears in endless mailings, tying the opposition candidate in any way imaginable to those fears. These tactics turned many "no" votes into no-shows and many "maybes" into yeses. It didn't always work -- but it worked often, and for a long time.

Madigan knew the rules. He wrote many of them, starting with his participation in the Constitutional Convention that produced our current Illinois Constitution.

But how did he use the machine he built?

Illinois went without a budget for the first three year's of Bruce Rauner's gubernatorial term. And, yes, it is the Governor's responsibility, not the House Speaker's, to craft and submit a balanced state budget. But Rauner came into office with an apparent lack of knowledge of the workings of state government. He seems to have thought he could somehow actually "fire Madigan" (as the chants went at Republican rallies). I wrote in 2016, when the state marked its second anniversary without a budget, that Illinois had become a "national joke." I suggested that Mr. Madigan (and then-Senate President Cullerton, who also had a veto-proof majority) should have taken matters in hand and used their supermajorities to pass a veto-proof budget. Another year went by before that happened.

At the time I wrote about it, it was pointed out to me that Madigan's "supermajority" only existed on paper. He couldn't count on some votes on many issues, and perhaps he would lose many votes on some others. But isn't that where leadership and vision and maybe even compromise can come into play? What good was a supermajority if no attempt was ever made to use it? As Lincoln kept asking, what good was the Army of the Potomac if it always stayed in camp?

McClellan's soldiers initially loved "Little Mac." They were fed and fit and alive.

The problem was that army camps, in the Civil War, were actually more dangerous, ultimately, than battlefields. Twice as many Civil War soldiers succumbed to death from disease as from bullets, shells and bayonets.

Was that what happened to Madigan's army, too? Did corruption seep into Madigan's camp like disease into an army camp?

Until yesterday's indictment, I thought that Madigan failed to use the great power he accumulated because he lacked a plan, or vision, of what to do with that power -- and also becaue he lacked, as McClellan lacked, confidence in the judgment of others about how to use that power. And on this latter point perhaps not entirely without reason: Rod Blagojevich, for example, was no Lincoln.

But now the United States Attorney suggests another, and altogether tawdry explanation: The machine was not idle. It was used. But only for individual gain. For money.

If the U.S. Attorney is correct, a number of Madigan's cronies were active participants in a criminal enterprise headed by Madigan himself. But McClellan had many good officers who acquitted themselves well under subsequent commanders. Mr. Madigan had a number of good people working for him, too. Dedicated public servants. Interested in what was best for the State. If the allegations of the lengthy indictment are proven, these good people were poorly served. But, then, so were we all.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Timothy W. Wright III to seek 5th Subcircuit vacancy

Timothy W. Wright III, a finalist for Cook County associate judge in 2021, has announced that he will be seeking election to a 5th Subcircuit vacancy in 2022. A campaign website has been launched in furtherance of that effort. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the site Sidebar.

Licensed in Illinois since 1984, Wright practices with the national law firm of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., a firm that bills itself as "the largest minority and women owned law firm in the country."

Wright practices from both the Chicago and Los Angeles offices of the firm (he is also licensed in California) and, according to his campaign bio, serves as Managing Partner for Operations of the firm.

According to his campaign bio, Wright "served as Special Counsel and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and was Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development for the City of Chicago under two administrations. At the federal level, Attorney Wright served as President Clinton’s first Director of Domestic Policy and in various capacities in his Administration. He also served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Bobby L. Rush." Wright also holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary, according to his campaign bio, and expects to receive his Doctorate in Ministry in 2022 from McCormick Theological Seminary.

Maria Barlow to seek 1st Subcircuit vacancy

South Side solo practitioner Maria Barlow is running for the Cook County bench. A campaign website has been established in support of that effort. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Licensed in 2011, according to ARDC, Barlow operates her practice from an office on South Stony Island Avenue. Her office website notes her early experience as an Assistant Corporation Counesl for the City of Chicago. Her practice now focuses "on family law cases and helping parents with child support, custody and divorce issues."

Barlow's campaign website notes a number of volunteer activities in which she has engaged. It also states that she has served as an adjunct professor at the Univeristy of Illinois Chicago Law School (the school formerly known as John Marshall).

This is Barlow's first campaign for judicial office.

Mask mandate remains in Cook County courts

Yesterday may have been Maskless Monday for area bars and restaurants, but the Circuit Court of Cook County plans to retain masking requirements for now.

Here is the complete text of a statement issued this morning by the Office of Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans:
The mandate that all persons using Circuit Court of Cook County facilities must wear face coverings will remain in place until further notice, said Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans.

The decision was made in consultation with Dr. Rachel Rubin, M.D., senior medical officer and co-lead of the Cook County Department of Public Health. “She informed my staff that our local community transmission rate remains substantial, and strongly recommends we continue our mask mandate until levels reach moderate or low,” Judge Evans said.

Court officials will continue to meet with the Cook County Department of Public Health in the coming weeks and provide updates as necessary. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office has notified the court that detainees being brought to court will continue to be masked. While mask requirements are being lifted or reconsidered at all levels of government, federal, state and local public health authorities continue to recommend that masks be worn in many settings, including some similar to the various spaces in Cook County courthouses. Therefore, until local transmission rates reach safer levels, the court will continue its policy of requiring masks or other face coverings in the courthouses at all times other people are present, unless a person is otherwise instructed by the judge or court personnel.

“I thank you for your continued cooperation as we follow medical professionals’ recommendations of best practices to keep us all safe during these times,” Judge Evans said.
For what it's worth, Rich Miller's Capitol Fax reports this morning that "COVID-19 metrics now as low as the last time face masks were optional."