* Press release…
Justice Robert R. Thomas has announced his retirement from the Illinois Supreme Court effective Feb. 29, 2020. Justice Thomas, 67, became the first Chief Justice from DuPage County when he was elected to that post from 2005-2008. One of the major accomplishments during Justice Thomas’ tenure as Chief was the establishment of the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, an outgrowth of the Special Supreme Court Committee on Civility, which was formed in 2001. […]
Justice Thomas will join the Power Rogers law firm where he will practice with his son, Jonathan. Justice Thomas was represented by firm co-founder Joe Power in a successful 2006 defamation case against the Kane County Chronicle. […]
The Supreme Court has constitutional authority to fill interim judicial vacancies and has appointed Appellate Justice Michael J. Burke to fill Justice Thomas’ seat effective March 1 through Dec. 5, 2022. Justice Burke has been a member of the Second District Appellate Court since 2008. DuPage County Circuit Judge Liam Brennan has been assigned to the Second District Appellate Court, effective March 2 through Dec. 5, 2022. […]
Following his graduation from Notre Dame, Justice Thomas played 12 seasons in the National Football League, 10 of them with the Chicago Bears. In the 1977 season, Justice Thomas kicked a 28-yard overtime field goal that sent the Bears to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, and he remains the fourth leading scorer in Chicago Bears history.
The Kane County Chronicle has agreed to apologize for publishing defamatory statements about Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Thomas and to pay a reduced damage award to settle a case playing out in state and federal courts.
In a joint statement given to the Tribune Thursday, Thomas affirmed the importance of a free press and equal treatment of all under a court system he heads — issues that the paper insisted were at stake.
The statement was attributed to Thomas and Tom Shaw, the Chronicle’s president and chief executive officer, and included the name of former columnist Bill Page. His allegations in 2003 of high court politicking by Thomas were found by a jury to be false and defamatory.
Page, in a phone interview from Florida where he now lives, said he would not have agreed to a settlement and stands by his work.
“I will never back down from what I wrote,” Page said. “It was based on what I had from confidential sources.”
Attorneys for both sides declined to disclose the settlement sum, but Page said the paper agreed to pay $3 million in order to halt court battles that could drag on for years and cost millions.
…Adding… Justice Thomas was up for retention this year, but his district has shifted toward the Democratic Party in past years, so this may have been the smart move. The timing of his announcement means Thomas’ successor will not have to run until 2022 and will face actual opponents.