Hispanic elected officials on Tuesday climbed aboard the bandwagon of critics unhappy about judicial appointments by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, wife of indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th).
Last week, the new chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus squared off against Burke over her appointment of a white county employee to replace a retiring black judge in a 7th sub-circuit dominated by African-Americans that includes much of the West Side.
Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) accused Burke of putting politics ahead of diversity and demanded that Burke rescind the appointment of Cara Smith, a top aide to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, a longtime political ally of Edward Burke. Smith was sworn in Monday.
On Tuesday, Hispanic politicians piled on. They complained about Justice Burke’s February appointment of Daniel Tiernan, who is white, to fill a vacancy in a 14th sub-circuit dominated by Latinos that includes Cicero, Berwyn and the Chicago neighborhoods of Little Village, Pilsen, Back of the Yards, Archer Heights and McKinley Park.
The Daley Center news conference included: newly-elected aldermen Michael Rodriguez (22nd) and Daniel La Spata (1st); Juan Morado Jr., immediate past president of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois; state Rep. Aaron Ortiz (D-Chicago); and Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya. Ervin was in the audience.
* Daily Line…
In February, Burke recommended Dan Tiernan, who is white, to fill 14th subcircuit vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William G. Lacy. Tiernan is a former investigator with the Cook County Office of the Independent Inspector General and assistant state’s attorney.
“We need fair representation, especially in the selection committees responsible for filling vacancies in the subcircuits,” Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22) said, adding judges should “have roots in the neighborhood… We have good candidates in our community and we need to raise them up.”
“Representation can be critical in determining outcomes in the courtroom,” Cook County Comm. Alma Anaya (D-7) said. “We cannot get to a point of true restorative justice if those deciding the fate of our communities are disconnected and not representative of us.”
* ABC 7…
“Seventy percent of the 14th Subcircuit is Latino and only three of the 11 judges are Latino,” said 22nd Ward Alderman Michael Rodriguez. “I think that is unacceptable and I don’t think any competent individual would say that makes any sense whatsoever.”
Ald. Rodriguez said subcircuits were created because the judiciary knew representation is important. He and other strongly criticized Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke’s recent appointments of two white judges in subcircuits that are primarily black and Latino. Rodriguez accused Burke and her husband, Alderman Ed Burke, of patronage.
“The person that Justice Burke appointed gave a $1500.00 donation to Ald. Burke in November, that is the kind of pay to play patronage stuff we need to get rid of,” Rodriguez said.
* WBBM Radio…
The new head of the Chicago Bar Association is adding his voice to calls for more diversity on the bench in state courts.
There have been some recent calls for more diversity on the bench in Illinois; and now Deputy Governor Jesse Ruiz has just been named President of the Chicago Bar Association and he said he supports the goals.
Ruiz said it is important for people of color to see those who look like them when they walk into a courtroom with judges and lawyers. And he said the Bar Association has proven it values diversity as well.
“We now have the most diverse executive committee ever in the Bar Association’s 145 year history. We have the young lawyer section and the big bar now both headed by Latino lawyers,” he said.