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Supreme Court race: You be the judge

Updated: April 20, 2012 8:06AM



Don’t do it.

There’s a subversive notion brewing in the run-up to tomorrow’s Illinois primary. President Barack Obama has no opponent. The top of the Democratic ticket is a snore. So lifelong Democrats in our blue state are ginning up trouble.

My buddy Gil Ross is a hard-core, North Side liberal. Last week he voted early and dispatched this missive: “To quote Santorum, ‘I almost threw up,’ then I held my nose and voted for Santorum.”

In the email to his posse, Gil argued that the Republican conservative base “does not want Mitt Romney as their nominee. A very significant number of them really want a right wing nut job. With our help, we can make their dream come true.”

Yes, a Rick Santorum bid would be a slam-dunk for our B-ball-obsessed president. Obama would demolish Santorum in November.

Still, despite Mitt Romney’s best efforts, the nomination is his to lose.

Don’t do it, Democrats.

You need only one reason to take a blue ballot on Tuesday: The Illinois Supreme Court. The court is the state’s ultimate arbiter of fairness and should be an oasis of unfettered jurisprudence.

Three accomplished women are competing fiercely for a seat on the court. Joy Cunningham, Aurelia Pucinski and Mary Jane Theis, all judges, have long professional and political resumes. Another candidate, attorney Thomas Flannigan, is not getting much traction.

Theis was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2010 to fill a vacancy and now must stand for election. As the Democratic Party’s slated candidate, she’s clouted with hot-shot endorsements and an avalanche of campaign cash. She has raised well over $1 million at last count, thanks to a muscular assist from high-powered law firms and Chicago’s new boss, Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel called Theis his “swing vote” on the court, reports the Sun-Times’ Abdon Pallasch. Rahmbo wants to keep her there.

To her credit, Pucinski, an appellate court judge, talks tough on ethics. She denounces her fellow Dems for slating judges and proclaims she won’t take campaign contributions from “special interests.” Pucinski is also a political careerist and has earned mediocre ratings from the bar associations, who know the judges best.

Cunningham also is an appellate judge, and like Theis, is highly rated by the bar associations. She brings an agile and diverse skill set that spans the corporate, government, nonprofit arenas. She possesses impeccable ethics and a deep commitment to social justice. If elected, she would become the first African-American woman on the court. Cunningham is staunchly backed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the most ethical elected official in Illinois.

You be the judge.

There are many more lower court elections on the ballot. Many more reasons to vote. Check online for the evaluations by groups such the Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Council of Lawyers. Vote informed.



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