The Madison County Record Oct. 29, 2014, 4:08pm

To the Editor:

Don't be fooled. According to news reports, the recent barrage of television and other negative ads attacking the integrity of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier are funded by plaintiff attorneys who themselves have very large personal financial stakes (amounting to billions of dollars) in the outcome of cases that will be heard by the Supreme Court in the near future. These lawyers have contributed approximately $1.8 million to the organization sponsoring the negative campaign, including six figure contributions by individual attorneys, in their effort to defeat Justice Karmeier's retention on the Court.

The retention election may be local to the Fifth District, but because it effects who will be hearing cases on the Supreme Court, it impacts the entire state. That is why, as President of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, I urge you to reject this attempt to cherry-pick which judges decide these cases, and to instead vote "Yes" to retain Justice Karmeier. And please don't assume that others will vote and carry the day – your vote matters.

The irony of the current negative campaign is remarkable. Ten years ago, plaintiff attorneys spent approximately $5 million unsuccessfully attempting to elect their own candidate to the Court and defeat Justice Karmeier – and now they are spending millions more to have you believe that there was something improper about how the Karmeier campaign was funded.

As long as judges are elected in Illinois, they will need to finance their campaigns. There is nothing improper about raising money. We do not contest the First Amendment right of these plaintiff lawyers to run ads or take a position, but the electorate should know the truth – that these lawyers are looking out for their own personal financial interests, not for the interests of the justice system or the State of Illinois. Keep this in mind when you cast your vote.

The mission of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel is to ensure civil justice with integrity, civility and professional competence. Our Core Values include supporting a fair, unbiased and independent judiciary. Justice Lloyd Karmeier fits the bill in every respect. Don't let these few wealthy lawyers spend these huge amounts of money at the eleventh hour to destroy the reputation of Justice Karmeier.

It is important that you not sit on the sidelines. Please get out to vote (and remind your friends to do the same), and vote "Yes" to retain Justice Karmeier.

David H. Levitt, President
Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel

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