Costly judicial retention race winds down

Ann Knef Oct. 28, 2010, 9:32am



As one of the most expensive single candidate campaigns winds down in Illinois, Justice Thomas Kilbride's chief detractor defends his group's anti-retention effort.

Ed Murnane, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League (ICJL), said that Illinois voters did not put any conditions on retention campaigns when the system of selecting judges was enacted by voters nearly 30 years ago.

"It's not the best system and it should be changed but it is what the voters approved," he said.

ICJL's political action committee, which has attacked Kilbride's record on jobs, crime and his vote to overturn the state's medical malpractice law, has raised more than $670,000 mainly from business interests in an effort to oust Kilbride from office.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which owns this publication, contributed $150,000 to the anti-retention campaign.

Murnane has called Kilbride "hostile" to business and medical communities and a "very staunch ally of personal injury lawyers."

"He's the most in support of expanding liability lawsuits," Murnane has said.

In the meantime, Kilbride, whose major donors are plaintiff lawyers, unions and the state Democratic party, has raised nearly $2.5 million.

Kilbride's defenders have called the anti-retention effort unfair.

"The special interest groups trying to oust incoming Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court Tom Kilbride in his retention election pose a direct threat to fairness and impartiality of all Illinois judges," says the Illinois Judges Association. "Through the use of deceptive and slick marketing, those sullying Justice Tom Kilbride are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for their own ideological and political ends at the expense of the touchstone of the American legal system - a judiciary independent of all influences and interests."

Read the complete story at Legal Newsline.

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