How to Research Illinois Judges on Your Local Ballot for the 2022 Election – NBC Chicago

To read How to Research the Illinois Judges on Your Local Ballot For the 2022 Election, click here.

Many of the names that will appear on your ballot for the 2022 Illinois election this year are judges, who are elected from specific districts or circuits, not the entire state. That means the judges you vote for will be different depending on where you live.

Here’s a breakdown of how to find out the qualifications of each of the justices running for office on the Illinois Supreme Court, along with the qualifications of judges running for retention or reelection in local courts of appeals or circuit.

Illinois Supreme Court vacancies in your district

The Illinois Supreme Court has seven seats in total: three from the First District, which is just Cook County, and one from each of the other four districts in the state. After winning their first elections, Supreme Court justices serve 10-year terms and are up for retention votes to win any additional 10-year terms thereafter.

2020 was a pivotal year for the court: Voters chose not to retain Democratic Justice Thomas Kilbride in a rare loss after a massively expensive and publicity-filled race. Republican Judge Robert Thomas also announced his removal, and the US Census paved the way for redistricting on the state’s judicial map. All of that led to two vacancies on this year’s ballot for the recently drawn second and third districts in suburban Chicago counties.

Democrats have long held a 4-3 majority on the court. The three Cook County judges are all Democrats, including Judge Mary Jane Theis, who is up for a retention vote this year. The judges in the Fourth District (central and western Illinois) and the Fifth District (in much of the southern part of the state) are Republican, with two seats to be decided now in November.

In the Second District (which includes Lake, McHenry, DeKalb, Kane and Kendall counties), the two candidates are Republican Mark Curran and Democrat Elizabeth “Liz” Rochford. In the Third District (which includes DuPage, Will, Kankakee, Iroquois, Grundy, LaSalle and Bureau counties), the candidates are Republican Michael J. Burke and Democrat Mary K. O’Brien. Judge Mary Jane Theis of the First District is also up for a retention vote.

Primer Distrito – Mary Jane Theis

  • Illinois State Bar Association – Yes for retention
  • Chicago Bar Council – Highly Rated for Retention

Second Ward – Mark Curran (R)

Curran is a lawyer who most recently ran for the United States Senate in 2020 and earned 38% of the vote as Senator Dick Durbin won another term. A former private attorney and attorney, he first entered politics when he was elected Lake County Sheriff in 2006 as a Democrat before switching parties in 2008. He served as sheriff until his defeat in 2018. Curran never served as a judge and is qualified as “not recommended” by the Illinois State Bar Association.

What the associations say:

  • Illinois State Bar Association – Not Recommended
  • DuPage County Bar Association – Did Not Participate

Second Ward — Elizabeth “Liz” Rochford (D)

Rochford has been an Associate Judge on the Lake County 19th Circuit Court since her appointment in 2012. Previously, she also worked as a prosecutor and in private practice. The Illinois State Bar Association rated it “highly recommended.”

What the associations say:

  • Illinois State Bar Association – Highly Commended
  • DuPage County Bar Association – Highly Recommended

The Third District includes DuPage, Will, Kankakee, Iroquois, Grundy, LaSalle, and Bureau counties. The candidates there are Republican Michael J. Burke and Democrat Mary K. O’Brien.

Third District – Michael J. Burke (R)

Burke was appointed in 2020 to fill Thomas’ Second District vacancy, but is now running in the Third District following court redistricting. Also a former prosecutor, Burke was an Associate Justice beginning in 1992, then a Circuit Judge in the Eighteenth Circuit before most recently serving on the Second District Court of Appeals prior to his Supreme Court appointment.

What the associations say:

  • Illinois State Bar Association – Highly Recommended
  • DuPage County Bar Association – Highly Recommended

Third District – Mary K. O’Brien (D)

O’Brien was previously a private attorney and state legislator from 1997 to 2003 when she was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeals, where she has served ever since.

What the associations say:

  • Illinois State Bar Association – Recommended
  • DuPage County Bar Association – Highly Recommended

You can read the ISBA justification behind their reviews on your websiteand you can get more information about the DCBA methodology on their website.

Investigation of circuit and appellate court judges in your local county

On the Illinois Court of Appeals, there are five openings. Two are in the First District (Cook County), and only one candidate is running for each of those vacancies. Then there’s one vacancy in each of the southern Second, Third and Fifth districts, all with contested races. Multiple Appeals Court judges across the state (including six in Cook County) are also up for retention votes this year.

Then there is the Illinois circuit court system. The state has 24 judicial circuits, six of which are a single county: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Circuit courts handle millions of legal cases each year, from felonies to civil lawsuits, divorce, adoption, eviction, traffic tickets, workers’ compensation, wills, and more.

There are two types of judges in the Illinois circuit court system: circuit judges, who are elected by voters for a six-year term and then undergo a retention vote for each term thereafter, and associate judges. , who are appointed by other judges.

In Cook County, two-thirds of the approximately 400 judges are elected either from the entire county or from a subcircuit, which is a particular part of the county, similar to a district. This election cycle, there are 27 Cook County Circuit Court seats on the ballot: 10 countywide and 17 in subcircuits. There is only one candidate in all but one of those vacancies. And there are also 55 Cook County Circuit Court judges up for retention votes this cycle.

Of the nearly 50 other circuit court vacancies on the ballot in Illinois outside of Cook County in this election, 18 have more than one candidate. There are also nearly 50 circuit court judges outside of Cook County who are willing to withhold votes.

Ways to research local judges on your ticket

For a more in-depth analysis of Cook County only, Injustice Watch It has also compiled information on each candidate, including their background, any controversies, qualifications, fundraising, and more.

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