How to explain court shake-up

What does it say when eight out of 376 associate judges in Illinois don’t get reappointed to the bench – and six of those eight are from the metro-east?

In St. Clair County, it’s easy enough to understand why the circuit judges did not reappoint Associate Judge Laninya Cason. No, it was not her low rating in a bar association poll. That’s nothing new. She’s out because she made the unforgivable decision to switch from the Democratic to the Republican Party in 2012 in an unsuccessful run for a circuit judgeship. Switching allegiance does not earn you points in Democratic-controlled St. Clair County.

Madison County is more of a puzzle. Five of its 13 associate judges weren’t retained. One of them had served on the bench for 12 years. They all had OK, although not great, ratings from their peers.

Is it possible that this mass ouster was simply based on their job performance rather than some sort of political power play?

It’s possible but not likely. This is Madison County, after all, considered one of the biggest “judicial hellholes” in the nation.