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Justice Burke under fire again for appointments

Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019

* Sun-Times

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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

35 Comments
  1. - Unionman - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:44 am:

    It is not like those judges actually preside over cases for people who reside in the sub-circuit anyway. For all you know, those judges could be sent to Rolling Meadows or Skokie. It just raises more questions on the entire system.


  2. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:49 am:

    Hey, there is diversity some know one person, some know another person.


  3. - Paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:50 am:

    “Representation can be critical in determining outcomes in the courtroom,” Cook County Comm. Alma Anaya (D-7) said.

    Isn’t that what our justice system is specifically against? You know, justice is blind and all that.


  4. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:51 am:

    I don’t know the particulars in the 14th, but in the 7th the nominee that Ervin backed was deemed not recommended. Are there many qualified attorneys of color able to fill the posts? Absolutely. They need to be submitted instead of someone’s friend. As for the CBA’s processes, they just recently overwhelmingly approved the reappointment of many associate judges, and the two they did not were because of their treatment of minority defendants. If Ald Ervin is alleging bias, show your work.


  5. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:55 am:

    This happened ahead of the 2018 Primary and Chuy Garcia backed Beatriz Frausto Sandoval who beat the white appointed Judge.

    That will probably happen again this time. If it does happen, I would expect that a lot fewer white attorneys will apply for vacancies in the 14th Subcircuit because they know that they will be beaten by a Latino at the upcoming primary.


  6. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:56 am:

    ==I think that is unacceptable and I don’t think any competent individual would say that makes any sense whatsoever==

    I get the idea of diversity. But they are discriminating themselves against whites. To suggest white people shouldn’t even be considered for these posts is ridiculous.


  7. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:57 am:

    Blood in the water. The Burkes are weak politically, so everyone is going to test them now. Who knows if Anne Burke did anything illegal. If Alderman Burke is convicted, it would not be credible to me for Justice Burke to claim she knew nothing about her husband’s misdeeds. Even if that is not illegal or a violation of the judicial conduct rules, it is enough to vote her out of office the next time she is up.


  8. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 10:00 am:

    @3D Checkers

    Justice Burke was just retained in November 2018 to another 10 year term, so she won’t be up again until 2028.


  9. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 10:00 am:

    Justice Burke is not up again until 2028, and by then she would be in her mid-80’s.


  10. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 10:02 am:

    ===You know, justice is blind and all that===

    Do you really believe that fairy tale?


  11. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 10:04 am:

    Also going on in the backdrop is that the General Assembly just passed a bill to remap the Subcircuits, which if signed by the Governor, will be the first remap since they were launched in 1992.

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?GAID=15&GA=101&DocNum=2625&DocTypeID=HB&SessionID=108&LegID=118765&SpecSess=&Session=


  12. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 10:05 am:

    To clarify, they will be remapped after the 2020 census for the 2022 Election


  13. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 10:09 am:

    the appointments do not reflect the sub circuits and have caused tumult that is not necessary. thanks Anne Burke. but the comment about the CBA and their evaluation process is just nonsense. sure, there can be favoritism for all sorts of reasons, but if you are a good attorney, you will do well in that forum. can the same be said of other bar associations?


  14. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 10:29 am:

    A basic recipe for getting through bar screening is not complicated. Do these things and you’ll probably be fine: 1. Practice law for 10-12 years at least before applying; 2. Be in court regularly and try cases (Transactional lawyers and desk jockeys need not apply. You can’t run a courtroom if you haven’t been in one.) 3. Treat clients, opposing counsel and judges fairly, with respect, and be punctual. 4. Clear up any issues such as debts, personal lawsuits and ARDC matters before applying, and 5. Have a good reason why you want to be on the bench for the public good rather than the salary or prestige. Even if you have major backing, if you don’t do these things you will not get through screening.


  15. - Steve - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 10:55 am:

    Justice Burke will be back in the news by year end when she starts a three year term as Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.


  16. - Equilibrium - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    It is hard to defend the system whereby Judicial appointments are made in the State of Illinois. We have to find a system that is fair and balanced. I do however applaud the great advances African Americans have made in elected and judicial offices.
    Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton
    Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
    Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White
    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
    Chicago Treas. Melissa Coyears Ervin
    Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans
    Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle
    Cook County States Attorney Kim Fox
    Cook County Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown
    Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough
    Fortunately the African American has achieved a level of representation that greatly exceeds their collective population.


  17. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 11:22 am:

    == 2. Be in court regularly and try cases (Transactional lawyers and desk jockeys need not apply. ==

    Lol, how often was Cara Smith in court as Sheriff Dart’s policy director? Probably not that much.


  18. - Roman - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    It’s annoying that virtually all the media coverage of this controversy has failed to mention that the appointment is temporary until the voters of the sub-circuit pick the permanent judge next year. If you don’t like the appointment, get someone else elected.

    And while getting the appointment from the Supreme Court is a leg-up for a candidate, judicial appointees don’t derive anywhere near the political advantage that legislative or aldermanic appointees do. They can’t put out press releases on feel-good bills, deliver constituents services, or hold townhall meetings. As such, a lot of judicial appointees fail to hold their seats.


  19. - Oh? - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 11:33 am:

    Anyone is naive that assumes she knew and knows nothing of her husband’s activities. I will bring up the fact no one else has, she was the only vote against pensions when Lisa Madigan tried to override the Constitution. Lisa is gone, read the tea leaves. Burke carrys on shamelessly.


  20. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    I don’t know her full background, but she has been practicing 27 years and previously was an assistant AG. Court experience doesn’t necessarily have to come from the most recent job.


  21. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 11:41 am:

    == I don’t know her full background, but she has been practicing 27 years and previously was an assistant AG. Court experience doesn’t necessarily have to come from the most recent job. ==

    I don’t know her full background either, but bar associations and anyone else can massage someone’s experience one way or the other depending on their personal likes and dislikes. It happens all the time.


  22. - Don’t forget - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 11:42 am:

    Cook County Water reclamation President Karri Steele


  23. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    From what I know from people who serve on such panels, they do not even know whose hearing they are doing on a given day until they show up, and if they have a personal relationship with the candidate they are supposed to recuse themselves. The vast majority do not know the candidates and have not had cases with them, and are not allowed to contribute to candidates or endorse them.


  24. - BigMike. - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    Cara Smith father Raymond was President of Wright college for years, She made Lisa Madigan the dean of students at the age of 23 nearly three decades ago. Sheriff Dart denied he was aware of Madigan connections of several of his top aides a few years back. This should not be about race… However, Cara Smith is not qualified for the position! She never litigated cases while political aides to Dart and Madigan for last two decades.


  25. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:02 pm:

    It does not have to be a matter of a conflict of interest or personal corruption. The committee member’s opinions and personal experiences impact their decisions.


  26. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    while I am aware that it is her turn, Justice Burke should not be the Chief Justice.


  27. - Sonny - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    Wasn’t this being called a misstep by Ervin last week? Looks like he’s harnessed and issue he can drive and keep driving. That’s the thing about injustice once it’s uncovered. Yah (exclamation point)


  28. - Steve Rogers - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:42 pm:

    @Amalia. Why? Is there a judicial inquiry board investigation against her? Has she been indicted?


  29. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:49 pm:

    ===Wasn’t this being called a misstep by Ervin last week? ===

    And I still believe it was. He handed her an excuse on a silver platter.


  30. - Practical Politics - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 12:55 pm:

    The connection between Raymond Lefevour and the Madigans was correctly summarized, but not the post.
    Lisa Madigan was the Dean of Adult Education at Wright College while she was attending law school at Loyola University. She was not the Dean of Students.


  31. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    Justice Burke’s response kept the Tribune and Sun Times editorial boards from getting involved, but Alderman Ervin’s goal here is to get Pamela Reeves-Harris elected to the bench, and he likely believes that his calls for racial equality play well in the subcircuit and will help Ms Reeves-Harris win the election


  32. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    @Steve Rogers, think given everything going on with her husband and now the appointments ….


  33. - Bavette - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 4:40 pm:

    This feels pretty racist.


  34. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:20 pm:

    Ald. Rodriquez’ comment that only 3 of the 11 judges in the 14th Subcircuit ignores the fact that only one of those judges - Judge Tiernan - is there by way of appointment. The other ten were all elected at various times, including going back to the first subcircuit election in 1992, so it was the voters of the subcircuit, not a Supreme Court appointment, that put them in the bench.


  35. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Jun 19, 19 @ 9:22 pm:

    Somehow “are Latino” escaped from my comment.


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