It could be a doozy of an '08 Southern Illinois Democratic primary election: Working-class incumbent of coal-mining descent versus ambitious personal injury trial lawyer.
Several sources tell Dicta that Swansea serial litigator Judy Cates is lining up support to take on and oust Justice James Wexstten's from his seat on the appellate bench come Feb. 5.
Wexstten, appointed in January by the Illinois Supreme Court to succeed the late Terrence J. Hopkins on the 5th District Appellate Court, got the initial nod across party lines from Republican Justice Lloyd Karmeier.
Cates, just wrapping up a year stint as president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, was most recently instrumental in killing venue, class action, asbestos and expert witness reform bills in the state's spring legislative session, while helping to usher in a law that makes it easier for family members to sue over another's death.
But she's most famous for suing the life out of business big and small, as well as the school district she served over a dress code policy.
We cannot wait.
The Golden State Bar recently welcomed newcomers from the Land of Lincoln, SimmonsCooper asbestos stars Nicholas Angelides, Melissa Crowe, Steven Davis and Taylor Lane Kerns.
The quartet recently passed the California State Bar, which has the local bar speculating a westward expansion is in the offing for the Madison County powerhouse.
Bye, Bye, Byr..
The man who kept the Madison County asbestos litigation factory ticking will soon be out of a job.
Judicial vacancies posted on the Illinois State Board of Elections website spells it out clearly for Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron, who reigned over the county's asbestos docket in its prime. Due to age restrictions, Byron, 77, must vacate his seat on the circuit bench at the end of his current term which expires in December '08.
Byron, who was first appointed to the circuit court by the Illinois Supreme Court in January 1989 following an eight-year stint as associate judge, apparently is none too happy about the inevitable.
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Illinois Supreme Court
200 E Capitol Ave
Springfield, IL 62701
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
401 W Edwards St
Springfield, IL 62704