It was recently reported in the press that seven judges who had lost in elections or had dropped out of the race were re-appointed to Cook County judgeships by the Illinois Supreme Court.
The judges whose jobs were saved were described as "politically-connected."
This continues a long-established practice that in effect overrules the people's vote to reject a judge for election or retention in office.
Almost 25 years ago, I wrote a letter, published in the News- Democrat, which pointed out that all of the appointed judges in Cook County who lost in the 1984 and 1986 elections were later reappointed by the Supreme Court.
The same thing has happened in Madison and St. Clair counties.
The Illinois State Bar Association has for years advocated a merit system of selecting judges, to remove them as much as possible from the hurly-burly of elective polities. Many commentators have endorsed this view. The Illinois legislature, however, has consistently refused to permit such a bill to even be considered.
We cling to the notion that direct election of judges serves the public interest. Yet when the people voice their opinion by rejecting a judge and the Supreme Court in effect vetoes that result by reappointing the losing judge to office, what is the point of having an election in the first place?