ICJL calls on Stewart to cease negative campaigning

By Ann Knef | Oct 24, 2006

As the battle heats up in southern Illinois' Fifth Appellate Court race, the Illinois Civil Justice League's political action has called on Saline County Judge Bruce Stewart to end "Maag-like" negative campaigning against his opponent Appellate Court Justice Stephen McGlynn.

ICJL president Ed Murnane asked Stewart to remove negative comments from his website that suggest McGlynn is a "politician" and "inexperienced."

"The candidates have signed a fairness pledge yet Judge Stewart's website includes comments that are remarkably similar to negative comments of former Judge Gordon Maag," Murnane said.

Murnane made the request of Stewart in a letter sent on Monday.

He compared Stewart's tactics to those of former Appellate Court Justice Gordon Maag during his unsuccessful race for Illinois Supreme Court in 2004.

"Judge Stewart calls Justice McGlynn inexperienced and a politician, yet McGlynn has been a lawyer for 19 years and has served on the appellate court for the past year. He also served as a Special Assistant State's Attorney," Murnane said.

He said that one of the most "offensive" items on Stewart's website is a radio ad claiming that McGlynn was appointed to the appellate court as a payoff for "his efforts as the political boss of the St. Clair County Republican party."

Murnane said it is "interesting" that Stewart makes the point that McGlynn has no experience as a trial judge, yet Stewart doesn't admit that he has no experience as an appellate court judge.

He also said both candidates can be "branded" as "politicians" since judicial candidates seek election in a partisan process.

"In addition, Judge Stewart has been misleading voters by suggesting that there has been no geographic diversity on the Fifth District appellate Court," Murnane said.

"One of the first appointments Justice Lloyd Karmeier made to the Court was the appointment of William Spomer of Alexander County."

Murnane said Stewart's comments are from "the same mold" as Maag's, who challenged Karmeier's credibility in a highly contentious and the most expensive state supreme court race on record.

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