Karmeier sworn-in to second term; Retained with 60.77 percent

By Ann Maher | Dec 2, 2014

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier was sworn in to a second 10-year term on Dec. 1 by former Justice Philip Rarick during a ceremony at the Washington County Judicial Center in Nashville.

In spite of a last minute, $2 million negative attack, Karmeier prevailed in the Nov. 4 general election.

He was retained with 60.77 percent of the vote total, according to final results certified by the Illinois State Board of Elections. Karmeier received 230,122 "yes" to 148,546 "no" votes.

He exceeded the 60 percent minimum threshold required for retention where he needed to the most - in one of the largest counties of the 37-county district.

In St. Clair County, voters retained Karmeier with a margin of 63.3 percent, or 45,508 yes to 26,335 no votes. St. Clair County represented approximately 19 percent of the overall total votes.

In Madison County, voters did not retain Karmeier with a margin of 57.7 percent, or 45,626 yes to 31,138 no votes. Madison County represented approximately 19.5 percent of the overall total votes.

Karmeier told The Associated Press on Dec. 2 that the 60 percent retention threshold for Illinois judges may need to be changed. 

Requiring that level of victory makes judges "unfairly vulnerable to influences of special-interest groups bent on unseating them," he stated.

He further said that in statewide judicial retention races "60 percent allows the minority to remove an otherwise qualified judge," according to the AP. 

The negative attacks aimed at Karmeier were funded by attorneys with stakes in two class action cases that had been overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2005. Both cases have been revived, and if judgments are restored the lawyers could stand to collect approximately $2 billion in fees. 

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