Illinois has 384 associate judges, selected by the circuit judges and generally allowed to make a career out of the job until they either become an elected circuit judge, mess up significantly or retire.
So we are still scratching our head as to why Madison County’s Third Circuit judges purged their associate judge ranks. Five of the 13 associates did not get the votes to keep their jobs. Only three other associates across the state failed to be reappointed.
Was it politics? Was there not enough deference to the plaintiff bar in the place where asbestos cases, class actions and the new president of the Illinois Trial Lawers Association all live? Did they have bad breath?
More understandable is that 46 people wanted the Third Circuit jobs. The pay is $176,236 a year with four years of guaranteed employment.
The circuit judges voted on the 46 and narrowed the field to 11. Another round of votes is coming.
Will it lead to more diversity of experience, temperament and philosophy on the bench? Well, all 11 have the backing of local labor unions or county Democrats.
Good luck with that.