Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Question of the day
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019

* Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“I think popular election is a very bad way to select judges,” Ginsburg told an audience gathered on the U. of C. campus, who applauded the comment. “And judges campaigning for office, saying ‘if you elect me I’m going to be tough on crime’ — it’s a spectacle. I don’t know any other country in the world where judges are elected. One can understand the origins, the people’s distrust of the British judges, but we’re long past that time. The direction is toward appointment rather than election.”

* The Question: Should judges be appointed in Illinois and by whom? Make sure to explain your answer.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

50 Comments »
  1. - Anon E Moose - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    By the governor with the approval of the Senate. Just like the feds.


  2. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 12:50 pm:

    Anon is right.


  3. - PrairieDog - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 12:51 pm:

    The current system of electing judges in Illinois should be retained. The law belongs to the people, it is not the private preserve of the legal profession, and certainly should not be the preserve of the political/administrative class. Appointment, as in the federal judiciary, is all about politics, but politics within the political/administrative class.


  4. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    I’d love to say that the Senate/Governor system would give us better results, but I still think it would be as political if not even more than it is now.

    It would be like the Cook County slating process, writ large across the entire state.

    Unless you do it like Alaska with a commission and the like I think the current system is the best option unfortunately.


  5. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    No. Elect full circuits. Maybe non partisan ballot
    Who would appoint? Politicians? Ed Burke
    It is the money they take in donated by the attorneys that concern me most


  6. - JP Altgeld - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 12:56 pm:

    We already have appointed judges in Cook County, at least. The party slates and those folks get in (with very rare exceptions). This is why our quality of judges is so low.

    I like how Indiana does it - governor appoints, senate confirms (for appellate courts). But I would do it for all courts here. It at least creates a far more transparent process than what currently exists.


  7. - Hard Hat - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 12:58 pm:

    I agree with the Notorious RBG. Let’s just skip the whole charade of an election, and give the robes to the biggest corporate sponsors so they can hand pick who they want. Seems like a more honest exercise.


  8. - Unpopular - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 12:59 pm:

    Appointment by Madigan alone.


  9. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    I trust the vote of the people over our career politicians. I do think the retention votes are a joke however.


  10. - RNUG - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:01 pm:

    No. We don’t want politically connected people with agendas being appointed by whoever is in power at the time.

    The judges should be / continue to be elected. Now that isn’t pretty, but I feel it is better than the alternative of straight appointment.

    I do feel the candidates should somehow be vetted for basic competence / understanding of the law … especially if the fourth estate can’t or won’t do basic background checking.

    An alternative might be to adopt a version of the Federal system where an executive like the Governor or s Board makes the recommendation / appointment, and then a legislative body like the Senate would have to confirm it. That would be more cumbersome, and still wouldn’t eliminate the politics as shown by the Supreme Court appointment process.

    So I still lean to direct election by the voters. But maybe there needs to be a voter recall process also to potentially restrain too activist judges on any side.


  11. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:01 pm:

    Appointing judges is a terrible idea. Just look at the appointment process at the federal level.

    We might occasionally get a bad result in Illinois from our system of electing judges.

    But we get a far worse result for our criminal justice system from our system of appointing police chiefs. And probably from the election of prosecutors.

    No system is perfect, every system has weaknesses, but the weaknesses of an elected system are relatively easy for the masses to correct.


  12. - yeah - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    Appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, BUT the Governor needs to select from a list of candidates provided by the state bar association.


  13. - Bothanspy - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    The reason appointing doesn’t work well either, at least in modern times, is that somehow the law has become partisan. A Right or Left leaning judge should not be able to exist if the laws are clear


  14. - Anonish - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    Politics and agendas always get into the mix whether you appoint or elect. If there was a better accountability process for problematic judges I think more people would feel ok with it all.


  15. - ZZT - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    —. But I would do it for all courts here —

    Not a chance, judges should be local. We don’t need the Chicago machine owning all 3 branches of government.


  16. - anon2 - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:06 pm:

    In Cook County, the election and retention process neither prevents incompetents from being elected nor removes them after they have amply demonstrated their unfitness.


  17. - BC - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:08 pm:

    I’m good with a Gov appoint/senate approve process. Maybe require bar association approval and a 3/5th senate vote, too.

    At the very least, let’s eliminate the single biggest farce within the electoral process we have now: Cook County’s retention ballot, which usually has 60 to 70 judges on it.


  18. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    Absolutely. Merit selection is a better way to go. The ridiculous process in Illinois is clearly not the best way to get the highest quality judiciary.


  19. - Not a Superstar - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    For appellate courts, we should have gubernatorial appointments, with names selected by a nonpartisan commission. No system is perfect, but appellate and Supreme Court justices should not be raising funds and running partisan campaigns.


  20. - Levois - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    Hmmm, I like the idea of appointed judges. However, I like the idea of say the state supreme court and appellate judges being appointed by the governor. I don’t have a good answer for what to do with say county circuit judges. How does one appoint judges for the Cook County Circuit Court?


  21. - Norseman - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    I go with appointment by Gov with confirmation by Senate. Judge terms should not exceed eight years, with reappointment allowed. Consideration should also be given to require 40% of judges appointed to be of the minority party.


  22. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    ===I go with appointment by Gov with confirmation by Senate===

    Downstate Republicans are just gonna love that.


  23. - H-W - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:27 pm:

    Mixed Martial Arts contest.


  24. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    I used to be for appointment. However, the politicization of the judicial branch, particularly under the Trump administration, has me rethinking that.

    I don’t know the right answer but I see pitfalls with both. At least with elections we can say that the people have a direct say in it.


  25. - R A T - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    Trump’s destruction will most be felt in the judges his administration has selected from the very top on down. Ruth is wrong.


  26. - SWIL_Voter - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:43 pm:

    Judges should be appointed by popularly elected executives to non-lifetime terms. Each popularly elected executive should get a set number of selections. Legislatures should have to get 60% or more votes to block the appointments, not to approve them.


  27. - Stark - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    Sure downstate Republicans aren’t gonna like a Gov-Sen appointment process. Perhaps they could, like, be more appealing to the electorate to win more Senate elections to combat this - just as the parties in the Senate at the federal level must do.


  28. - Nanker Phelge - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    No.
    I don’t like the election system as I often know nothing about the candidates on the ballot. I know I am ultimately responsible for educating myself, but getting information on judicial candidates is hard. Plus, I don’t think the average person really has any idea what the true role of a judge is.
    But, I don’t trust Governors and Senators to be unbiased and select people who will truly judge and not legislate from the bench (and judges who practice exegesis, not eisegesis when interpreting the law).


  29. - A guy - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    I’d be in favor or appointment. But it should be a qualified body doing the appointing. Maybe a 5 person panel that includes a ISC Justice.


  30. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    Maybe a qualification that Illinois Supreme Court justices have to have been a judge at either the state or federal level in order to be appointed.


  31. - DIstant watcher - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    “Appointment” is just an election with a smaller pool of voters and fewer campaign rules.


  32. - Roman - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    == Downstate Republicans are just gonna love that. ==

    Legit point. A few ways to address that: supermajority consent of the senate (which we’d have to put at 2/3rds or higher) or let the highest ranking statewide official not in the Guv’s party fill every third vacancy. If there are no statewide officials from the other party, then let the House leader not from the guy’s party appoint. Don’t ask me what to do if we have an independent governor.

    Never gonna get politics out of this.


  33. - DIstant watcher - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    and, as Justice Ginsburg should know, no guarantee that a vacancy will be filled in a timely manner.


  34. - thoughts matter - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    I usually leave the ballot blank for judges. I don’t know anything about them beyond a commercial or two. University trustees is just as useless of an election.

    Appoint. Use established standards to weed out the unqualified.


  35. - Practical Politics - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    Once upon a time in Illinois, judicial elections were conducted separate and apart from elections for other candidates. While fewer voters participated, it simplified the process of learning about the candidates. Under the present system, these races have been thrown into the mix with races for the presidency, the governor’s office and all other types of elected offices.


  36. - Roman - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    == …in Cook County, at least. The party slates and those folks get in (with very rare exceptions). This is why our quality of judges is so low. ==

    The Cook Dems require slated candidates to be found qualified by the bar association. Some of them lose to non-qualified candidates because of ballot position, name, gender, etc.


  37. - Steve Rogers - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:17 pm:

    Keep the elective judiciary. With extreme partisanship on both aisles, I don’t necessarily trust a panel, governor, and/or senate to do any better than our popularly elected judges. It’s not perfect, but it works. While I know it always hasn’t been how it is today, but the seven justices, despite political differences, work together quite well. I’m sometimes surprised at some of the 4-3 and 5-2 decisions and an R justice ends up sharing a dissent with D. This is a long way of saying if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We have enough truly broken things to worry about.


  38. - Paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:26 pm:

    Absolutely keep the current system. I have practiced in Chicago for over 25 years in both state and federal court. I believe that for the most part, the judges I appear before are good. Some are obviously better than others but I think the comments about how bad or judges are in Illinois is a little off-base.


  39. - Stevie Dan - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:28 pm:

    So, people are cool with the idea of Blago, Quinn, and Rauner having selected the state judiciary for the past 16 years? I’d argue the judiciary is much better off have been selected by election rather than by appointment during that span.


  40. - DougChicago - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    Just have Ed Burke appoint them — save time.


  41. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    Realizing this is an Illinois-centric blog … what do other states do? Anyone have any experience with a state(s) that has Assisted Appointment? (A commission reviews and approves candidates and then the Governor selects from the list - Missouri does something similar.)


  42. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:47 pm:

    As Trump and McConnell have shown us, the appointment process can be corrupted too.


  43. - DougChicago - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 2:51 pm:

    As an alternative — to spread things around in our democracy…

    Nominees could be selected by the Speaker of the House, the Chairman of the Illinois Arts Council and the immediate past Illinois Attorney General.

    And then from this list appointments to lower courts will be made by the Dean of the Chicago City Council and the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.


  44. - Token Conservative - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 3:21 pm:

    ==“I think popular election is a very bad way to select judges,”==

    I would assume every judge outside of Cook County agrees.


  45. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 4:41 pm:

    @Chicagonk, well played. appointed by Governor and confirmed by Senate for SC and Appellate Ct. with experience requirements. Circuit Court Judges appointed by SC with experience requirements. The experience requirements should be established by the Bar Associations.


  46. - MyTwoCents - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 5:24 pm:

    I think appointment/confirmation for appellate and Supreme Court justices is worth exploring. For circuit court, I’m good with elections, but make them non-partisan. If you retain the elections for appellate and Supreme Court, non-partisan as well. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen in Sangamon County anybody appointed to a judgeship has to have voted in GOP primaries, which seems a silly requirement for a judge.


  47. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 9:34 pm:

    Judges should first run in a nonpartisan primary, with the ballot available even to people who don’t want to declare a party. The top two vote getters would run in November, again with no party label. Retention judges should be evaluated by the bar associations and, if found by not qualified, be on a retention ballot, otherwise just be retained.


  48. - JackD - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 9:47 pm:

    As others have noted, you can’t get the politics out of it, state or federal. Remarkably, I can say based on 50 years of experience in the Cook County courts, the judges are surprisingly good. Maybe it’s something about the office making the man or woman as they used to say about the presidency. Maybe not so much about the presidency anymore.


  49. - Unionman - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 9:27 am:

    For Supreme: Recommendation by by a non-partisan commission made up of statewide stakeholders to the Governor who nominates and then senate confirms. 10 year terms with a max of two terms. Following first term must be retained by 3/4 votes of voters Statewide.
    For Appellate: Recommendation by a non-partisan commission with required Appellate district stakeholders on the commission to the Governor, nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. 10 year terms with a max of two terms. Following first term must be retained by 3/5th votes of all voters in the Appellate District.
    Circuit: Recommendation by a non-partisan commission with required Circuit district stakeholders on the commission to the Governor, nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. 6 year terms with a max of three terms. Following each term must be retained by 3/5th votes of all voters in the Circuit.
    Get rid of associate justices and sub-circuits. No primaries for judges. Judges only on the November ballot.


  50. - Russell Killen - Thursday, Sep 12, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    Judges should not be appointed. A corrupt Governor would appoint them to rule in his favor.


TrackBack URI

This is not Facebook, so uncivil comments, profanity of any kind, rumors and anonymous commenters will not be tolerated and will likely result in banishment.



* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* More post-Mapes cleanup by Madigan
* "80 percent of success is just showing up"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* Madigan creates 20-member gun violence task force
* Looking on the bright side
* *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Another update to today's edition
* Seeing what they want to see
* Question of the day
* It comes down to trust
* Simple solutions are usually neither
* Pritzker wants "actionable scenario" from agencies on potential cuts, other reductions
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Update to today's edition
* In super-rare move, two aldermen sponsored tax break resolutions worth millions for Burke's clients
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller