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Thompson appointed attorney for state cops in FOID FOIA kerfuffle

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011

* Big Jim is back in the limelight

Former Gov. Jim Thompson will represent the Illinois State Police in a lawsuit challenging whether the state of Illinois can release the names of 1.3 million Illinoisans who hold state firearm owner’s identification cards.

Thompson and Matthew Carter of the Chicago law firm Winston & Strawn LLC were appointed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Motions naming the two men were filed Tuesday in Peoria County Circuit Court; however, they probably wouldn’t appear in town until a May 18 status hearing.

Last month, Chief Peoria County Circuit Judge Michael Brandt allowed a temporary restraining order blocking the names’ release. The Illinois State Rifle Association and the Illinois State Police are expected to argue that any release of information will have a “chilling effect on the Second Amendment.”

“It’s not infringing on their right to bear arms. It has a chilling effect to reveal the names of FOID card owners,” Thompson said. “It will make people more hesitant to exercise their Second Amendment rights if they knew their identities would be revealed.”

* AG Madigan appointed Thompson at the request of the Illinois State Police. The move was praised by pro-gunners and analysts alike

Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association said the choice of Thompson is a smart one for Madigan. Noting how controversial the issue is among gun owners, he argued that if Thompson prevails nobody can accuse her of not giving opponents every chance to win.

“She has an issue that is a real political problem for her and now she’s got the best attorney to get her out of it,” he said.

Chris Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, said he didn’t believe that Madigan was looking for a political out, but agreed it was a smart move.

“She has proven time and again that she’s very savvy … and she didn’t just stumble into this,” he said.

Thompson will have an even keel who won’t go out of his way to bash the AG. Smart move.

* In related news, the SJ-R editorial board weighed in on that Guns Save Life guy who created a stir by using a Holocaust symbol to slam AG Madigan’s FOIA decision and then going off the rails when relatively mild criticism was proffered. The SJ-R noted that it sharply criticized the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals when they put up a display near the Statehouse for its national “Holocaust on Your Plate” push, and applied the same standard to this situation

“Given the opinions of those on the political left in our society, frankly, I think a lot of people in our society would like to see gun owners either imprisoned or exterminated,” Guns Save Life president John Boch told Schoenburg.


This kind of language and symbolism is beyond inappropriate. Co-opting the Holocaust for any cause other than genocide conveys a basic lack of understanding of its true horrors, not to mention its fundamental cause. […]

Or as ADL President Abraham Foxman said regarding PETA’s infamous 2003 effort, “Rather than deepen our revulsion against what the Nazis did to the Jews, the project will undermine the struggle to understand the Holocaust and to find ways to make sure such catastrophes never happen again.”

That struggle may continue forever. So should our prohibition on using the Holocaust as a marketing tool.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - x ace - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 7:23 am:

    Dem AG appoints former Rep Gov to high profile , maybe lucrative, case. Any possible impact on a future run for Gov by the AG ?

  2. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 7:49 am:

    I’m not a vegetarian (yet) but I can at least see a Holocaust comparison with animals given that they’re actually rounded up in concentration camps (farms) and exterminated (slaughtered) if you think about it from the animals’ perspective. The FOID-Holocaust comparison is a real stretch, although I have to admit this isn’t a terribly big issue in my book both as an FOID holder and a member of a group targeted in the Holocaust.

  3. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 8:07 am:


    Comparing animals to Jews, really?

    If you want to compare anyone to Hitler and the Jews, how about the Russians killed by Stalin, the Chinese by Mao, the Cambodians by Pot, Cubans by Che and the list goes on.

    PETA was as out of line as “that Guns Save Life guy.”

  4. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 8:54 am:

    Sure, there are plenty of human-on-human cases. I’m saying I can at least see the comparison in PETA’s case given that someone/something actually died, though I may not agree with it. I don’t think this is the forum to debate our opinions on animal rights, though, so I’ll leave it at that.

  5. - Todd - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 10:05 am:

    A nice pick by the AG. Kudos to her for letting ISP get their own special AG

  6. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 10:29 am:

    I love the irony that the state will pay for the attorneys on both sides of this case.

  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 10:39 am:

    Lost in the weirdness prompted by Boch on this question, is this: By what authority does the Illinois State Police have standing to challenge a finding by the attorney general?

    Isn’t the ISP under the authority of the executive branch? Who’s making the decision to over there to file a lawsuit and where is that power derived? Isn’t the elected governor the ultimate boss?

  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 11:06 am:

    And he’s also acting as interim executive director of the Sports Facilities Authority, where he is chair. It’s nice the state’s pols still takes care of Big Jim. But that’s what Big Jim always did - take care of things for certain folks.

  9. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 11:19 am:


    FOID is administered by the ISP, FWIW.

  10. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 11:43 am:

    Too bad Illinois has no skilled administrators or lawyers available for these jobs. The State keeps having to go back to the same old guy over and over again.

    It is just a mission of mercy to pretend to do something while protecting the establishment…..

  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 12:08 pm:

    Well, Big Jim probably doesn’t bring in clients the way he used to, and somebody has to take care of him, so shouldn’t it be the taxpayers?

  12. - Hickory - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 12:56 pm:

    If I was as wealthy as “the Donald” I would not hire Big Jim. Lisa, send your staff up against a piece of cake.

  13. - just sayin' - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 5:39 pm:

    Oh good. I was worried maybe not enough state money was being shoveled Big Jim’s way.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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