Ten years ago respected Republican State Senator Carl Hawkinson from the Peoria area narrowly lost a bid for the Illinois Supreme Court to a trial lawyer named Thomas Kilbride.
It gave complete control of the highest level of the state’s judicial branch to the Democrats.
The victory was orchestrated by House Speaker Mike Madigan, who was also Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.
Now Kilbride has to run against his record.
No opposition candidate will be on the ballot in the 3rd Judicial District.
But, there’s a hitch.
He has to get a 60% favorable vote to be retained in office.
Only rarely does a judge, a pretty low-profile office, get kicked out of office.
Back in the early 1980’s Republicans in Boone County got mad at Judge (David, I think) Babb. Nice enough guy.
Babb had been elected to the circuit court as a Republican, but decided to run for the appellate court as a Democrat.
Needless to say, Boone County Republicans were less than pleased.
In this Republican appellate district, he was not elected.
When he came up for retention, I noticed “Dump Babb” yard signs on the road I took while teaching a course in state and local government at Rockford College.
One could not drive through Boone County without seeing the signs.
He failed to received the required 60% vote for retention and was dumped.
Now Republican political strategist Jon Zahm is running an anti-Kilbride web site. It’s called “Do Not Retain Judge Kilbride.” Or “Vote NO Kilbride” for short.
Most irritating was the one ruling monetary ceilings on medical malpractice awards are completely unacceptable.
The Illinois Supreme Court has given the Illinois trial lawyers everything they want, just as national Dems did when the health care reform bill was barely passed with Melissa Bean’s vote.
Liberals are decrying the role of money may take in Kilbride’s election.
I didn’t hear them complaining ten years ago when Madigan and the trial lawyers put so much in the race to defeat Hawkinson.