Belleville City Clerk Dallas Cook is right to challenge the attempt by judges John Baricevic, Robert Haida and Robert Le Chien to “resign” their judgeships in order to seek “election” rather than “retention” for a new term. The judges’ scheme makes a mockery of the Illinois constitution. The use of the term “may seek re-election” in the Illinois constitution is there to allow them to pursue another term. It is absurd to think that the writers of the constitution contemplated allowing judges to resign so they could seek “election” rather than “retention.”
I concede that it is hard to understand why the constitutional requirement for retention is 60 percent of the vote, while it is only 50 percent for an initial election. But if that requirement seems unreasonable, the proper approach is to seek a change to the constitution. Instead, these judges display their lack of judgment by pursuing this scheme. They’d rather distort the language of the Illinois constitution and pervert the intentions of those who wrote and approved it. Clearly their goal is actually “retention,” since their “resignation” is effective not now, but not until Dec. 4, after the election.
With all that is wrong with Illinois government, this incident may seem to be “small potatoes.” But when are we, the people, going to reject this sort of garbage? I call on all voters to reject these judges’ dishonorable plan to circumvent the constitution. How about neither “retention” nor “election” — vote them into “retirement.”
David S. Brown, O’Fallon