Thursday, December 22, 2022

An early Christmas present from Mother Nature? Courts closed tomorrow

The forecast for the next day or so keeps changing but, at its worst, the forthcoming winter storm will not equal, much less eclipse, the Blizzard of '67 (an image from which is pictured here).

Nevertheless, the Chief Judge's Office has announced that Cook County Courts will be closed tomorrow (with a few exceptions). Anyone needing to see the actual Order entered in this regard can click here. For everyone else, herewith the court's press release:

Due to predictions of significant snowfall, high winds causing blizzard-like conditions, and extremely low temperatures and wind chills in Cook County, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans ordered courts and related operations of the Circuit Court of Cook County to be closed Friday, December 23.

This means that, with the exception of adult bail hearings at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse and juvenile detention hearings at the Juvenile Courthouse, and hearings on petitions for civil emergency protective orders, there will be no court proceedings (in-person or virtually) in any Cook County courthouse, and the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court will also be closed, except for purposes of staffing bond court and detention hearings.

All cases previously scheduled for Friday, December 23, 2022, will be rescheduled by order of the Presiding Judge of each division and district of the court, and the clerks will send notices of the new court dates.

Hearings on existing civil protective orders (domestic violence orders of protection, stalking no contact orders, civil no contact orders, firearms restraining orders) will be rescheduled to a date no later than January 6, 2023. Civil protective orders set to expire on December 23 are extended to January 6, 2023.

Bond court bail hearings, including those for domestic violence offenses and suburban cases, and juvenile court detention hearings will take place according to the court’s weekend and holiday schedules.

Hearings for new civil emergency protective orders (EOP) will be held from 9:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m. on Friday, December 23, and from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m on Saturday, December 24. A civil EOP hearing can be requested by visiting Illinois Legal Aid Online at

For domestic violence advocacy, assistance with emergency EOP hearings, or information about a criminal order of protection, the public can call:
Connections for Abused Women and their Children’s 24-hour hotline: (773) 278-4566

Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline in Chicago: (877)-TO END DV (voice) or 1-877-863-6338 (Voice) or 1-877-863-6339 (TTY). The hotline is toll free and confidential.

Perhaps an illustration of confirmation bias... but, then again, perhaps not

I am certain that a great many FWIW readers would agree with the proposition that we here in the Great State of Illinois are uncommonly obsessed with elections and election law. Why? Because, by tinkering with the mechanics of the electoral process, we can influence, if not actually pre-determine, electoral outcomes. See, generally, maps and redistricting.

So I was not surprised to see, in a newsletter-email addressing the introduction and adoption of election-related legislation in the 50 states I recently received from Ballotpedia, evidence supporting my opinion. This graphic from said email should more than adequately illustrate my point:
Only New York State had more election-related legislation introduced in its legislature than we did in ours.

Only about 11% (266, to be precise) of the election-related bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide were in fact enacted. The success or failure rate of election-related legislation was not broken down on a state-by-state basis, but the newsletter did say, "States with Democratic trifectas—meaning full legislative and gubernatorial control—accounted for 93 of the 266 enacted bills (35%), and 121 (45%) came in states with Republican trifectas. States with divided governments enacted 52 bills (20%)."

Trying to control election outcomes by controlling election mechanics is apparently one of those few remaining areas of bipartisan agreement: Both sides agree that the other side should have no chance, or as little chance as possible.

But the tactics are different. See this chart:

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Being a judge is almost as stressful as being a urologist: O*NET online

I'll bet you never heard it put that way. I certainly never did.

But a recent ABA Journal article by Debra Cassens Weiss provides this nugget, citing to a list published by the Occupational Information Network, or O*NET Online, a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, and developed by the National Center for O*Net Development.

To be more specific, as Cassens Weiss writes, the list "ranked 873 jobs based on the importance of stress tolerance, defined as the ability to accept criticism and deal calmly and effectively with high-stress situations."

According to the O*NET list, the top occupations requiring high stress tolerance are:
  • Urologists,
  • Film and Video Editors,
  • Anesthesiologist Assistants (tie),
  • Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates (tie), and
  • Telephone Operators (tie).
I know what you must be thinking: There still are telephone operators?

According to the ABA Journal article, "Lawyers had a stress ranking of 87, putting them much further down on the list. They tied with more than 20 other occupations, including umpires and referees, registered nurses, intelligence analysts, gambling change people, child care workers and anesthesiologists."

A big takeaway here: Somehow anesthesiologists have figured out a way to blame their assistants when things go wrong.

And, wouldn't you think, given the alleged similarities in function, that umpires, referees, and judges would all be rated as similarly stressful?

In case you're wondering (I was, at least) "gambling change persons" are not people who experience remorse five minutes after the start of any game on which they have wagered. Rather, "gambling change persons" are defined as persons who "[e]xchange coins, tokens, and chips for patrons' money. May issue payoffs and obtain customer's signature on receipt. May operate a booth in the slot machine area and furnish change persons with money bank at the start of the shift, or count and audit money in drawers."

I certainly do not accept the rankings on this list without question: Door-to-door sales workers are allegedly one of the least stressful occupations. That can't be right.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Connors resignation opens opportunity for Navarro

Illinois Appellate Court Justice Maureen E. Connors has announced her retirement, and the Illinois Supreme Court has wasted no time in filling her vacancy.

In an Order entered today, the Supreme Court reassigned Justice Mary L. Mikva, a Circuit Court judge already serving by appointment on the Appellate Court, to the Connors vacancy.

Justice Mikva's previous Appellate Court assignment was open-ended. The new assignment is effective January 18, 2023 and terminates December 2, 2024. To remain on the Appellate Court after that date, Justice Mikva would have to win election to the court in the 2024 election. Under today's order, however, she remains a Circuit Court judge sitting on the Appellate Court by assignment. If she fails to win election to the Appellate Court, or chooses not to run, she can remain a Circuit Court judge when her time on the Appellate Court is up.

Today's Order also allows Justice Mikva to retain her own caseload.

Justice Connors' cases will be taken over by Circuit Court Judge David R. Navarro pursuant to a separate Order, also entered today, by the Illinois Supreme Court. This Order assigns Judge Navarro to the Appellate Court effective February 6, 2023, in which assignment he will remain "until further order of the Court."

Navarro was appointed to the Circuit Court bench in 2017. He was elected to a 4th Subcircuit vacancy in 2018. Navarro was appointed acting presiding judge of the Pretrial Division in November 2021.

The Supreme Court's press release about Judge Navarro's new assignment can be found here.

Justice Connors had served on the Appellate Court since she was appointed to that court in late 2010. She was elected to that court without opposition in 2012. Connors was recently retained as an Appellate Court justice in the 2022 election.

Justice Mikva has been serving on the Appellate Court by assignment since 2016. She was elected to the Circuit Court in 2004.

Friday, December 09, 2022

CBA to present Korematsu reenactment on Thursday, December 15

Fred Korematsu in 1998
The Chicago Bar Association D.I.C.E Committee, the Young Lawyers Section of the CBA, and the Japanese American Bar Association of Chicago are partnering to present a program on Korematsu v. United States on Thursday, December 15 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., at the CBA building, 321 S. Plymouth Ct.

The link in the preceding sentence is not to the 1944 Supreme Court opinion (that "shameful precedent," as Justice Sonia Sotomayor called it in her dissent in Trump v. Hawaii, 138 S.Ct. 2392 (2018) (see, p. 92 of the linked .pdf document)) but, rather, to educational materials published by the U.S. Courts.

Those materials note that, while Fred Korematsu's conviction (for violating an exclusion order by the military) was overturned in a 1983 case (he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1998), "the Supreme Court decision still stands."

That flat assertion might come as a surprise to the Supreme Court justices who heard Trump v. Hawaii. In the majority opinion in that case, Chief Justice Roberts stated, "Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and---to be clear---'has no place in law under the Constitution.' 323 U.S., at 248 (Jackson, J., dissenting)." And, as alluded above, in her dissent, Justice Sotomayor stated, "Today, the Court takes the importantstep of finally overruling Korematsu * * *. This formal repudiation of a shameful precedent is laudable and long overdue."

This seeming digression into Trump v. Hawaii is relevant because the materials for next Thursday's program, which were drafted and provided by the Asian American Bar Association of New York, includes commentary at the end from Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Sotomayor. I may have given some of that away here.

The program will feature CBA members reenacting key moments from Fred Korematsu’s trial and fight for justice. During the presentation, participants will examine key areas of the law involved in the case.

Korematsu was born in the United States but was arrested for his Japanese ancestry and for refusing to comply with military orders. During World War II, Japanese Americans were regarded as a threat to U.S. security and were uprooted from their homes to remote internment camps in the West.

However, Korematsu took a stand for his rights as an American-born citizen and brought his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court rejected his claim that the relocation of Japanese Americans during the War was based on racial bias.

For additional information about this program or to register to attend, visit this page of the CBA website.

CBA Symphony Orchestra and Chorus present a Classical Holiday on December 17

Sure, Schroeder might say that a Beethoven-only program would more than suffice.

But the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Bar Association Chorous have decided to offer even more in their holiday program, to be presented on Saturday, December 17, beginning at 7:30 p.m., at St. James Episcopal Cathedral, 65 E. Huron Street.

Marek Rachelski will conduct the CBA Orchestra and Stephen Blackwelder will conduct the CBA Chorus in a program that features selections from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker and Handel's Messiah and as well as movements from Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.

Tickets will be available at the door ($20 apiece for adults, $15 for law students or persons 18 and under). Tickets purchased online in advance are discounted: $15 for adults, $10 for students. To purchase tickets online, click here.

SABA Chicago Holiday Party set for Monday, December 12

The South Asian Bar Association of Chicago will have its Holiday Party this coming Monday, December 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at City Social, 120 N. LaSalle St. Registration is required for this event (yes, that's the link).

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Cook County Bar Association Winter Ball & Holiday Toy Drive set for December 15

The Cook County Bar Association will hold its Winter Ball & Holiday Toy Drive on Thursday, December 15, from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m., at the Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th Street.

Tickets for this event are $100 each. The price includes admission, limited open bar, food from Premier Catering, and live entertainment from the "Park N Ride" band and sounds from DJ Commando. Semi-formal attire is encouraged.

Attendees are also encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys. Checks in lieu of toy donations may be made payable to the Cook County Bar Association or, alternatively, Zelle payments may be sent to

Event tickets are available here.

AABA Chicago Holiday Party this Thursday, December 8

A holiday party sponsored by the Asian American Bar Association Chicago and the AABA Chicago Law Foundation will take place this Thursday evening, December 8, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Lao Sze Chuan, 520 N. Michigan Ave.

Tickets are $55 each for members ($65 for non-members). Law students will be admitted for $15. All tickets are available at this link. Tickets will also be available at the door, but payment must be made by credit card only; no cash will be accepted.

Monday, December 05, 2022

New class of Cook County Circuit Court judges sworn in today via Zoom

I just know this will be triggering to some small percentage of FWIW readers, but it is a fact and I refuse to shrink from my responsibility to report that the newest crop of Cook County Circuit judges, all of whom (with the exception of Joe Gump) were effectively elected in the June Democratic primary, there being no two-party system to speak of in our fair county, were sworn in this morning in an online Zoom hearing.

The festivities were streamed live on YouTube.

It was, as these things go, a very nice ceremony, with advice and admonitions appropriate to the occasion from several judicial luminaries, including former 7th Circuit Chief Judge Diane P. Wood, Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer of the Northern District of Illinois, newly-installed Illinois Supreme Court Justice Joy V. Cunningham, and Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis.

It was a little strange, of course, to watch a ceremony like this shoehorned into the Hollywood Squares format of a Zoom meeting. Fortunately, no one took it upon themselves to assume the part of Paul Lynde. All the new judges seemed to have a standard Circuit Court of Cook County virtual background -- a viewer could quickly pick out the virtual nature of the background because the arm of this new judge, or that one, would disappear when they failed to remember to sit entirely stock still.

And, let's face it, this was an occasion where the persons being welcomed into the third branch of government (as a number of speakers reminded the initiates) were understandably excited, elated, and, well, eager to get the formalities over with so they could celebrate with friends and family. Some of them had trouble sitting entirely still.

Allow me to use this platform to offer my personal and heartfelt congratulations to all the newly sworn-in judges.

I realize that even this modest salutation will also be triggering for some FWIW readers.

There are some very bitter people on the outside looking in. Having been disappointed myself over the past 30 years of not reaching the bench, I can appreciate the disappointment that others also feel. I can even understand how some may feel that disappointment more keenly, these days, than I might, since I've stopped actively striving (why, I didn't even fill out applications for the last couple of AJ classes -- I figure the Supreme Court knows where to find me, if it wants to, and I'm not holding my breath anymore waiting).

But I do have a problem understanding much of the anger and bitterness that some have expressed in comments FWIW readers never see.

Not all of the angry people are judge wannabes. Some are practitioners who felt, rightly or wrongly, that the civil court system failed utterly during Covid, depriving them of opportunities to earn a livelihood. A judge on Zoom, for some of these, is a judge who is not earning their pay.

But some of these angry people have ambitions to one day don the robe themselves. Or say they do. And yet they profess disdain for the successful candidates and heap scorn on the (pick one or more) ability, intelligence, independence, work ethic, and/or sobriety of the judges already serving. This makes no sense to me: Why would anyone aspire to a job working with colleagues they despise?

Well... as I've said on many occasions... I am no politician.

Anyway, congratulations to all the new judges. I wish you well.