Monday, November 17, 2014

Illinois Governor-Elect Chided For Voting Not To Retain Cook County Judges

On election day, Capitol Fax blogger Rich Miller snapped a photo of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, who defeated incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn (D), as he cast his ballot on election day. An observant blog reader blew up the digital image of Rauner holding his ballot before inserting it into the optical scanning machine and noticed he had voted "No" on the retention of all 73 judges on the ballot for retention in Cook County. Rauner's "secret" ballot is now becoming fodder for public criticism according to the Capitol Fax.

Judge James Riley, a Republican, wrote a letter to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin chastising Rauner for his No votes, noting the Chicago Bar Association had given the vast majority of the judges up for retention favorable ratings. The president of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, John Litchfield, also penned a letter complaining about Rauner rejecting "even the stars of the bench."

One commenter pointed to an Illinois law that makes it a Class 4 felony for “any person who knowingly marks his ballot or casts his vote on a voting machine or voting device so that it can be observed by another person, and any person who knowingly observes another person lawfully marking a ballot or lawfully casting his vote on a voting machine or voting device." Miller noted he innocently snapped a photo of Rauner with no intention of examining how he marked his ballot.

It seems to me that Rauner is getting a bum rap here. What do you think? The Cook County judiciary has a long history of corruption within its ranks, in part, because of the highly-political manner which determines who becomes a judge, which has more to do with a person's political connections than their legal qualifications. It's hard to imagine that even the best-educated voters would have a clue about the judicial qualifications of a list of 73 judges on the ballot. I suspect there are more than a few voters who think Rauner should wear his "No" votes like a badge of honor.


Anonymous said...

Judges are scum. I vote against retention for every one of them. Good for Rauner. He does what I've always done.

This Miller needs to get arrested for violating the seal of the election booth.

Anonymous said...

It is one thing to vote a straight party line when there is a republican or libertarian or independent alternative but if all 73 current judges were voted out on a yes-no vote in one election that vould create a complete collapse of the Cook county court system.

And if you have specific information that any or all 73 are/were corrupt, you should share your facts with the Chicago FBI

Gary R. Welsh said...

The feds took a stab at it once. It was known as Operation Greylord. A total of 92 people were indicted, including 17 judges, 48 lawyers, ten deputy sheriffs, eight policemen, eight court officials and a state legislator.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 7:11 AM, why should a person vote "Yes" on a judge simply if that person doesn't know anything bad about that judge? Why is the default to vote "Yes" instead of voting "No?" Unless I know something really positive about judges, I always vote "No" in retention votes. They always win 2-1 anyway.

Replacing judges wouldn't cause a collapse of the Cook County judiciary. It would result in younger attorneys, many with different viewpoints having the opportunityto be judges. That's not a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

I remember these questions on my ballot a few weeks ago for state supreme court judges. What happens if the majority votes "no"? Didn't Iraq used to vote for their president the same way - Saddam Hussein, yes or no? Maybe I'm just thinking of an old SNL skit.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 9:14, if a majority votes "no," the judge is removed from office. It's never come close to happening in Indiana.