For defenders of fair and impartial courts, the 2004 and 2014 elections of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier provide one of the most intriguing ongoing stories around. Now there are two new reports of interest, an anatomy of the 2014 election and a court update about his antagonists’ effort to depose him.
The lengthy analysis of the 2014 retention election, which Justice Karmeier won narrowly after facing a late-hour opposition drive, is available at WUIS.org. It is entitled, “Supreme Tort: The Campaign To Fire Justice Lloyd Karmeier.” This week’s courthouse news article comes from the Madison-St. Clair Record and is headlined, “Plaintiffs in Hale v. State Farm cannot depose Karmeier; Magistrate: ‘such examinations would disturb integrity of judiciary.’”
Questions of special interest spending in judicial elections have lingered after both the 2004 election, a contested match-up in which $9.3 million was raised, and the more recent retention election, in which the outside group opposing him was heavily funded by trial lawyers.
“Year after year, Illinois Supreme Court races have devolved into a brawl between special interests and partisans,” Justice at Stake Executive Director Bert Brandenburg said after Election Day 2014. “If Illinois cannot insulate judges from hardball politics, its courts will face a growing crisis of public confidence.”