Gov. Bruce Rauner has pointedly and unfairly attacked the integrity of the Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois’ entire justice system. He labeled the system “corrupt” and said he did not “trust the Supreme Court to be rational” in its decisions.
As lawyers, we know Rauner’s attack is without foundation. We read the opinions authored by the Supreme and appellate courts. We know they are decided without bias, based on the facts and evidence presented and the applicable law. We respect them as intelligent, well-reasoned decisions even when we don’t agree with them.
We also know the hard work judges do every day on behalf of those who seek access to justice. We see the difficult cases they decide. We know Illinois’ judicial system is not corrupt and that judicial decisions are rational.
As lawyers, we can appreciate the governor’s interest in the justice system and the election of judges. It is a legitimate topic of debate. In fact, since the early 1980s, the Illinois State Bar Association has worked with political leaders on both sides of the aisle to promote merit selection and retention of judges and public financing of judicial elections. That makes it all the more disappointing that the governor has launched an irresponsible attack without merit on the integrity of the entire judicial system. Instead, he should engage in constructive dialogue or propose legislation to work on these issues.
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Richard D. Felice
President, Illinois State Bar Association