Burkart responds to ISBA poll

By The Madison County Record | Feb 23, 2012

To the Editor:

To the Editor:

I am not going to let 52 out of 547 lawyers discourage me when over 650 registered voters signed my nominating petition. Besides, the results are statistically insignificant. More than half (254) of the lawyers eligible to vote (547) did not even bother to return a ballot.

Of those who did, more than half (104) stated they did not have sufficient knowledge and did not vote. Of the 18 percent who voted, 35 answered every question favorably. Ten more were favorable as to overall qualification (question 8).

That means the 52 lawyers voting for "not recommended" represent only 9.5 percent of the Madison and Bond County lawyers who are ISBA members. The rating is simply not a reliable indicator of what all practicing lawyers think.

There was evidence that tainted those ballots voting no to question 8 (the overall recommendation). One ballot even answered favorably to all of the first seven questions except "temperament" which s/he left blank. S/he then voted no as to question 8.

History also indicates that the lawyer's poll is inaccurate and influenced by political affiliation.

In 2006, the Republican candidate for the 5th District Appellate Court, Steve McGlynn, received a "not recommended" rating from the lawyers. However, the 42 member Judicial Evaluation Committee, which represents the ISBA's official position on candidates, rated McGlynn "qualified."

Two other Republicans (Don Weber and Paul Evans) running locally for judge in 2006 received "not recommended" ratings, whereas every Democrat running received a "recommended" rating.

George Moran, Jr., who ran as a Democrat in 2000, but resigned amidst scandal in 2006, received a recommended rating in this ISBA poll.

Unfortunately, the ISBA Judicial Evaluations Committee does not rate candidates for circuit court.

I will let my record and my reputation, which has been made quite public on my campaign website (www.burkartforjudge.com), stand to impeach the 9.5 percent of the bar voting "not recommended".

I believe that record leaves but only one of three conclusions.

Either those voting "not recommended" lied when they indicated they possessed sufficient knowledge of my qualifications, or they lied when they answered question 8 "no" as to overall qualification, or, lacking a conscientious intent to deceive, they allowed politics to influence their final vote.

I want to thank my fellow lawyers who voted favorably, especially those 35 who voted yes in every category.

There are 190,000 registered voters in Madison and Bond counties. From the feedback I am getting, the voters of Madison and Bond counties are sick and tired of allowing a very few lawyers pick who the next judge will be.

Thomas Burkart
Candidate for Madison County Circuit Judge

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