Give judicial candidates this litmus test

December 1, 2013 

Drug testing for judges doesn't have much traction inside the St. Clair County Courthouse, but it's a different story on the campaign trail.

Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn, a Republican, and Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf, a Democrat, both have voluntarily taken drug tests. It's clear why they would do so. Not only are they running for the same seat but it's the seat formerly held by Mike Cook, the judge who was at the center of a recent drug scandal. Cook is awaiting sentencing on drug and weapons charges.

In the wake of the scandal, Chief Judge John Baricevic and some other circuit judges said they favor mandatory drug testing for judges, knowing that's not going to be a requirement in Illinois anytime soon. The elected circuit judges could require drug testing of applicants for associate judge openings, but the judges have multiple excuses for why that won't work, either.

Most St. Clair County judges don't want to make drug testing a requirement, but county voters can and should do so. Drug testing should be a litmus test for candidates running for a vacant judicial seat or for retention.

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