Quad-Citian Tom Kilbride is tapped to head Illinois Supreme Court


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Originally Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2010, 12:00 am
Last Updated: Sept. 16, 2010, 11:16 am
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Illinois Statehouse News

SPRINGFIELD -- Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride has been selected by his colleagues to be chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois Statehouse News has learned.

The order will come down today naming the 10-year veteran of the high court to be its leader for a three-year term beginning Oct. 26, a source familiar with the situation said late Wednesday.

But whether his time as chief justice will be for the full three years or just a few weeks will be determined by the voters Nov. 2.

The Third District, which Kilbride represents, stretches across 21 counties in northern Illinois and is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. It encompasses Kankakee County where he grew up, LaSalle County where he was born and Rock Island County where Kilbride lives.

Every 10 years, Illinois Supreme Court justices must stand for retention. At least 60 percent of voters must vote for retaining a judge in order for the person to remain in office.

Ordinarily these elections are uneventful affairs. But this year Kilbride is being targeted for removal from the court by groups unhappy with how the court has ruled.

That strategy is part of a growing national trend in which groups representing doctors, hospitals, manufacturers and other businesses that often are sued work to reshape the judiciary.

Ed Murnane, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League, said his group is targeting Kilbride because it is unhappy with a number of votes he cast concerning business. Much of the Civil Justice League's funding comes from business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald announced Monday that he will be retiring from the Supreme Court Oct. 25 because he has Parkinson's Disease. Chief justices are selected by their colleagues to serve three year terms and traditionally it is rotated between Cook County justices and those from other parts of the state.

Kilbride was expected to be next in line in the rotation.

"It was his turn," Murnane said.

"I think the timing of Justice Fitzgerald's retirement is interesting," he added. "He is retiring a week before the election and this should give Kilbride a nice PR boost right before the election."

But Mike Lawrence, past director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, said he doubts it will have much impact.

"Ultimately voters are going to make a decision based on Justice Kilbride's qualifications and how well the judge has comported himself," he said. "Whether or not he is chief justice shouldn't make a difference."




















 



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  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








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