* So many commenters yesterday bemoaned their belief that House Speaker Michael Madigan “owns” the Illinois Supreme Court that prominent pension issue commenter RNUG finally weighed in…
I realize this is Illinois and a lot of you think the fix is in, but stop and think it through a bit.
Once you become an [Illinois Supreme Court] justice, the only place left to go up is the federal system and, unless you’re in the running for SCOTUS, it’s pretty much a step down in terms of power and prestige. The usual path is to reach ISC, hang around to get your turn at Chief Justice, then, if you’re ready to go, retire. Otherwise you hang around some more until the workload gets to be too much.
MJM may have helped put a judge on the ISC initially, and maybe the judge owes MJM, but MJM can’t directly remove a judge from the ISC. Once they are there, they are there for 10 years at a time, and their re-election is a simple “Shall x be retained?” question. It’s not the same as running a campaign for re-election. Effectively speaking, once you make it, you are there for life or until you choose to step down. For the first time in their political life, a judge on the ISC is pretty much answerable to no one.
Yes, a judge could harbor hopes of retiring from the ISC and be “of consul” to any number of prestigious law firms, and in that case, MJM’s backing might help. But there’s no guarantee that such help would be needed. Big law firms like to have people like former Governors, Senators and Supreme Court Justices on their letterhead, and pay big money for that privilege.
Practically speaking, once they reach that level, an ISC Justice is free to do whatever they want on court decisions.
The paranoia out there is really, truly intense. Some of y’all need to tone it down. Way down.