When we turn on the radio, turn on our televisions and even log into our social media accounts, we are bombarded with political advertising. It is everywhere we go and try as we might, we simply cannot escape Election season.
The one thing, though, we do not hear much about is judicial elections.
Judicial races often do not enjoy the same level of interest and scrutiny as other races, but the outcomes of these races have as much if not more impact on our daily lives. Judges cannot outline positions on the issues the same way legislative candidates can but this does not make their races any less important.
Travis Akin, executive director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch | Courtesy of Travis Akin
Judges have the power to sanction personal injury lawyers who game the system and file frivolous lawsuits in Illinois courts that have no real connection to Illinois. They have the power to dismiss frivolous lawsuits and prevent personal injury lawyers from gaming the system. Their actions can help spur job growth by maintaining fairness in their court rooms or they can drive out jobs and opportunities by tilting the scales of justice in favor of the plaintiffs.
Who is serving on the bench matters. Electing good judges who apply doctrines of common sense and fairness will make Illinois less of a magnet for lawsuits, and in turn, much more of a magnet for jobs.
Voters need to pay attention to judicial elections and pay special attention to who is funding these campaign because in many cases, judges receive the vast majority of their campaign contributions from those same personal injury lawyers, who have essentially turned Illinois courts into their own personal – and profitable – playgrounds.
In fact, A new study from grassroots legal watchdog group Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch (I-LAW) and the Illinois Civil Justice League (ICJL) has revealed that contributions given by Illinois personal injury lawyers to Illinois judges and politicians topped $35.25 million in the past 15 years.
In other words, there are now 35 million reasons why Illinois continues to attract lawsuits and personal injury lawyers from all over the country and proves that personal injury lawyers are gaming the system to their advantage by funneling millions of dollars in campaign contributions to Illinois judges, who continue to allow junk lawsuits that have nothing to do with Illinois to move forward here, prompting the question, ‘Is justice for sale in Illinois?
We know that hundreds of thousands of dollars from personal injury law firms has recently been dumped into the campaign coffers of two Democrat candidates running for Appellate Judge positions in the 5th District Appellate Court District.
Certainly the amount of money from personal injury law firms flowing into the Fifth Appellate Court district races is concerning but voters will have an opportunity on Nov. 8 to weigh in on these important judicial elections. Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch is urging voters to make sure to cast an informed vote in those important down ballot judicial elections. One resource to consider is www.illinoisjudges.net. There voters can find information on all of the judicial candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Stopping lawsuit abuse starts with us casting votes for good judges to serve in our courts.