ISBA's High Horse

The Madison County Record Sep. 5, 2004, 7:11am

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As we approach peak campaign season, the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) has promised to monitor the Lloyd Karmeier-Gordon Maag battle royale for our Downstate Illinois Supreme Court seat.

According to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, the ISBA is going to monitor all public statements and advertising to "keep their race clean."

So what qualifies as "clean" campaigning? What's dirty? Anything that "impugns the integrity of the judicial system or either of the candidates," of course.

Forgive us for raining on the ISBA's fuzzy-wuzzy parade, but this notion is as naive as it is arrogant.

That's naive as in negative campaigning is here to stay. It's been an American tradition since the days of Abraham Lincoln (opponents called him a "baboon"). Every election year it seems candidates sink to new lows. But in fact American politicians have long since sunk to the very bottom.

And the ISBA is arrogant for thinking that a handful of lawyers ought to referee this campaign. Why is it up to them to decide what is relevant? We're all voting, aren't we?

Illinois Supreme Court Judges are elected officials just like senators, mayors and county board members. They are no different, contrary to what some would have you believe.

Moreover, it's our view that it's not the integrity of campaigning that matters in this race, but the integrity of Illinois' judicial system itself.

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