As many as 175 judicial election contests -- including two Supreme Court races -- could be on the Illinois General Election ballot in November 2012.
The Illinois Civil Justice League is launching the 2012 edition of IllinoisJudges.net, which will be the most complete source of information on judicial races and judicial candidates in Illinois.
IllinoisJudges.net began in 1998 and has grown each year. It is a source of information for voters, the news media, political watchers, and judges and judicial candidates themselves.
Every judicial candidate in Illinois will be invited to participate by responding to an ICJL candidate questionnaire and providing appropriate background information. Incumbents and newcomers are invited to participate in generally, most do.
Candidates may provide links to their campaign websites and the ICJL also includes information from other recognized sources, including the Illinois State Bar Association and various Illinois newspapers.
IllinoisJudges.net is a handy guide for voters who frequently are deluged by information about other candidates and other races and who know little about judicial candidates and judicial races.
While Illinois elects 177 members to the Illinois General Assembly and 18 Members of Congress, the state has more than 900 judges, many of them who have vastly more authority than legislators or Members of Congress. Most of them conduct their duties anonymously.
IllinoisJudges.net provides voters with an opportunity to learn about the candidates and reach out to the judicial candidates themselves.
Two of the most interesting judicial contests in Illinois in 2012 will be at the Supreme Court level where two different forms of judicial elections are likely.
In Cook County, which has three of the seven Illinois Supreme Court seats, Justice Mary Jane Theis is seeking election to a full ten year term in the seat she was appointed to last year. Justice Theis was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement of Justice Thomas Fitzgerald. Justice Theis had previously served on the Appellate Court. She is being challenged in the Democrat Party primary by two other appellate justices, Joy Cunningham and Aurelia Pucinski. They will compete in the Democrat primary in March. The winner would possibly face Circuit Judge James G. Riley, who told the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin in September that he was running for the Fitzgerald vacancy as a Republican.
In Central Illinois, Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman's term of office is ending and she is expected to seek a new ten-year term but an official announcement has not been made yet. It is expected that Justice Garman would have Democrat opposition in the district that extends from the Indiana border on the east to the Mississippi River on the west and includes cities and towns such as Danville, Springfield, Quincy and Decatur.
IllinoisJudges.net today shows the seats that will be open in 2012.
In days to come, as sitting judges make their decisions, the site will show the judges who are seeking retention or who are retiring and opening up a seat for a contest.
The ICJL invites readers to visit IllinoisJudges.net often.