Leaves a void

Seraphina Elizabeth

Madison County Judge George Moran's early departure from the bench leaves a gaping hole in the court's capacity until November-our sources tell Dicta will be tough to fill.

The job falls to Republican Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, charged with filling such unexpected circuit court vacancies in Southern Illinois. The Justice filled his first one last November, when he tabbed Republican Madison County prosecutor Don Weber to replace a retiring Judge Phil Kardis (D).

Weber faces plaintiff's attorney Dave Hylla (D) in his first election this fall. That Moran's replacement won't get their own campaign explains what makes his vacancy so much trickier.

Whomever Karmeier names will, in essence, have to take a temporary, seven-month assignment on the Third Circuit bench. Other than deep-pocketed asbestos legends like John Simmons or Randy Bono, Dicta cannot think of many local counselors with the means or will to take such a sabbatical from their law practice.

Not that there aren't possibilities.

Karmeier could name the court's other Republican, Associate Judge James Hackett, already slated to run in November to replace Moran. He's squaring off with fellow Associate Judge Barbara Crowder (D).

Filling the vacancy would give Hackett a head start in his campaign, boosting his name identification around the county. But it would also cost him job security.

If Hackett loses to Crowder, he stands to likely still retain his associate judge's position, in which he'll serve until Election Day. But resigning early to take a Karmeier-granted promotion would bequeath his slot to someone else, likely a Democrat, as Circuit Court judges choose associates.

If he loses to Crowder then, Hackett would be plain out of a job.

Our recommendation: look far afield. With seven months to raise hell, a genuine outsider could make life in Edwardsville quite interesting. Hmmm...

It's not a guy....

The world according to Record reporter Steve Gonzalez has recently changed for the fourth time. No sooner did a 7-pound blond-haired package arrive Feb. 7, than was he overwhelmed by the ironies of fathering a daughter--a first time event.

Less than 24 hours outside the womb, Steve was already rehearsing the battles ahead in the name of protecting her virtue. Against guys. He knows this because he's a guy.

The little cherub, as baby girls do to their dads, cast a spell.

So now that Steve is once again on shift work, forgive the bags under them, but note the gleam in his eyes.

Congratulations to Steve and Carrie. Look out, Cody, Nate and Noah. Welcome Seraphina Elizabeth!

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