Thursday, April 06, 2006


How Illinois Selects Supreme Court Justices

Behind closed doors without any public input

Here in Illinois, there won't be any ugly political fights over filling an impending state Supreme Court vacancy. The matter has been settled before the public was even notified there was to be one.

In a secret session, three weeks after voters could have had some say in the matter, the Illinois Supreme Court has selected its next member:
Justice Mary Ann McMorrow, the first woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court, announced Wednesday she will step down from the panel, clearing the way for the appointment of Appellate Judge Anne M. Burke, wife of Chicago Ald. Edward Burke.

McMorrow recommended to her colleagues as her successor one of the state courts' most highly recognizable jurists, a judge well-known for her work on behalf of children in Illinois and nationwide.

Noting the importance of earning the 'positions of trust' that judges hold, McMorrow predicted in a written statement that Burke would 'serve with distinction' as the newest member of the high court.

The recommendation by McMorrow and subsequent appointment by the full court mean Burke will take over the panel's open Cook County seat this summer and will have the right to serve until the panel's next election in 2008. Burke could run for a 10-year term of office at that time.
Burke will serve just about the maximum time possible before having to face the electorate.

I don't know how other states select supreme court justices, but I'm guessing its not anything like this.


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