Here’s what Illinois legal groups are saying about the state Supreme Court races – NBC Chicago

The Illinois Supreme Court underwent a dramatic transformation this year, and amid these significant changes, voters will be asked to weigh in on the current construction of the state’s highest court.

The State Supreme Court is made up of seven justices representing five different districts. The First District, which includes Cook County, elects three judges, while the other four districts have one judge each.

Judges are elected for 10-year terms, then face retention votes for further 10-year terms, requiring a 60% vote to remain on the bench. If a judge retires, a replacement is nominated by the remaining judges, and a bipartisan election is then called to determine whether that replacement will receive a full 10-year term.

In 2022, the boundaries of Illinois’ five judicial districts were changed for the first time since they were established in 1964, officials say.

While Cook County still represents the first district, the second now includes McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kane and Kendall counties. Previously, the District comprised 13 northern Illinois counties, but most of the western portion of District Two is now represented by the Fourth District.

Likewise, the Third District now includes fewer counties, including Bureau, LaSalle, Grundy, DuPage, Will, Kankakee, and Iroquois counties.

Most of the western part of the Third District was also folded into the Fourth District, while the southeastern parts of this district were folded into the Fifth District.

While voters in specific counties will need to evaluate which judges to vote for in their elections, the Illinois State Bar Association and the DuPage County Bar Association both publish recommendations for races during of the next elections. A third group, the Chicago Council of Lawyers, offers recommendations for racing in the First District.

Here is a bit more information about the three groups.

Illinois State Bar Association

The organization uses three different ratings for judges: not recommended, recommended, and highly recommended.

The ISBA asks applicants to complete a questionnaire and also interviews attorneys familiar with applicants. A committee then scores them based on 12 criteria, including experience, legal knowledge, integrity and diligence, among other factors.

DuPage County Bar Association

This organization invites written applications from candidates. A random member then interviews the references and the candidates themselves, and the committee investigates the candidates’ backgrounds.

Chicago Board of Attorneys

The board assesses applicants based on criteria such as fairness, diligence, impartiality, temperament, professional conduct and character.

The board uses four ratings, including “unqualified”, “qualified”, “well qualified” and “highly qualified” in its assessments.

Here’s what the groups had to say about the candidates in the retention ballot in Cook County, as well as the other two Supreme Court races in Illinois.

Supreme Court 1st District

Judge Mary Jane Theis

Illinois State Bar Association – Yes for Retention

Chicago Council of Lawyers – Highly Qualified for Retention

You can read more about the ISBA recommendation here, and you can see the full list of recommendations from the Chicago Council of Lawyers on their website.

supreme court 2n/a District

Judge Elizabeth Rochford

Illinois State Bar Association – Highly Commended

DuPage County Bar Association – Highly Commended

Marc Curran

Illinois State Bar Association – Not Recommended

DuPage County Bar Association – Did not participate

You can read the ISBA’s rationale behind its ratings on its website.

You can also find more information about DCBA’s methodology on their website.

supreme court 3rd District

Judge Mary K. O’Brien

Illinois State Bar Association – Recommended

DuPage County Bar Association – Highly Commended

Judge Michael Burke

Illinois State Bar Association – Highly Commended

DuPage County Bar Association – Highly Commended

You can read the ISBA’s rationale behind its ratings on its website.

NBC Chicago

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