An independent judicial branch of government is foundational to our American democracy. While it means that our judges and courts should be free of influence from the other branches of government, it also means that the judiciary should be free of influence from private or special interests. The rule of law means nothing if judges are not able to impartially decide both public and private legal disputes with complete independence.
Despite these bedrock principles, private and special interests are again seeking to influence our upcoming judicial elections. Just as with his previous retention bid, Justice Thomas Kilbride is being confronted with a well-funded misinformation campaign seeking to remove him from the bench of the Illinois Supreme Court. The aim of this campaign is clear—to tilt the scales of justice in the favor of the special interests funding it. This type of misinformation politics has no place in our judicial elections.
To aid Illinois voters in their civic duty to elect and retain judges, the Illinois State Bar Association conducts and publishes its evaluations and ratings of judicial candidates. These evaluations and ratings are freely available to the public at www.isba.org/judicialevaluations. It is my hope that all voters will visit this page, use the resources provided, and cast a truly informed ballot by November 3.
Dennis J. Orsey
President, Illinois State Bar Association