Monday, October 13, 2008

Updated -- list of Cook County judges to vote against

I had a bit of feedback on reprinting the Chicago Bar Association's recommendations for judicial candidates in Cook County, so I thought I'd see who else is not recommended.

Typically, all state judges win their races. That seems wrong to me (especially as today I saw a WBEZ story that a federal judge is complaining that Cook County judges are falling down on their job with bond cases). With almost 100 judges up for election or retention (basically re-election), at least a few of them should get fired on a regular basis. Since the state constitution gives me the job to decide which state judges should get fired, I'm going to take the advice of the lawyers who take the time and review the job performance of all the judges. (Yes, I snuck in another reason to vote yes on the constitutional convention so I don't have to decide which judges keep their jobs or not. If you like the way we pick our state judges now, vote against the constitutional convention!). 

The Chicago Bar Association picked four judges out of dozens and dozens to fire. They are

Anthony Lynn Burrell
Evelyn B. Clay
Vanessa A. Hopkins
Casandra Lewis

What about other associations, a friend of mine asked? 

Kathleen Marie McGury
Gerald C. Bender
Evelyn B. Clay
Shelli Williams Hayes
Vanessa A. Hopkins
Edward N. Pietrucha
Janet Adams Brosnahan
Casandra Lewis
Valeria Turner

And then there's an association of associations at with a lot more information.

My preference, though, is for some group of lawyers to have a longer list of judges to vote against. I'd like to raise the bar (so to speak) on judges to get ever-higher standards applied to the judicial branch. So if any association tells me to vote against a judge, I'm taking that advice. There are far too many groups and people that take the opposite approach (include the judicial campaign) which is to vote yes on all judges. That's bad politics and bad policy. In any organization, some people ought to get let go on a regular basis so new and better talent can join up. That's how a culture of excellent and achievement in an organization is created -- not by keeping everyone on the job no matter what.

So, I'll be voting no on all the judges listed above. If anyone knows of any other associations or groups with their picks to vote against, maybe for the first time in Cook County history (a bit of hyperbole, but not much), some bad or just mediocre judges will get let go, making the rest of the judiciary a little bit better.

1 comment:

SCELLAK said...

Cook County Voters can visit: and review all of the evaluations by 11 different bar associations. In addition, there are sample ballots that voters can print out and take with them when they visit the polling booths. A great resource for educating yourself on the qualifications of these judges!