JP Election Brief: Supreme Court races and controversy in Illinois
- Today, July 12: Filing deadline in New York
Texas Supreme Court Place 4 race headed to primary runoff
The May 31 Republican primary for Place 4 on the Texas Supreme Court was close for incumbent David Medina. Medina managed to stay in the race for re-election by taking 37.7% of the vote, however challenger John Devine was not far behind in the polls, receiving 34.1% of the vote. A third Republican candidate, Joe Pool, Jr., was defeated in the primary after receiving 28% of the vote.
With no candidate receiving over 50% of the vote, the race is now headed to a primary runoff on July 31, 2012. Voter turnout is expected to be low in the runoff, so endorsements and campaigning are critical at this juncture for candidates, especially in close races. To this end Republican state Representative Jodie Laubenberg has issued a statement endorsing incumbent Medina:
|“||I enthusiastically support Justice David Medina in his re-election campaign for the Texas Supreme Court, place 4. Justice Medina is a consistent conservative voice on the court who exercises judicial restraint and a strict interpretation of the law. He has all of the key conservative endorsements across the state and has always stood up for the U.S. Constitution and the laws of Texas. A life-long Republican, Justice Medina is the only candidate in this race with the judicial experience and conservative credentials that I believe are necessary to effectively stand up for the rule of law on the Supreme Court. ||”|
It remains to be seen whether this endorsement will benefit Medina, so keep an eye to Judgepedia on July 31 for updated information. The winner of the runoff will face Libertarian Tom Oxford and Green Party candidate Charles E. Waterbury in the general election.
In the News
Money and controversy in Illinois 5th District Appellate Court race
The race to replace retiring Judge James Donovan on the 5th District Appellate Court is heating up. The latest campaign finance report shows that, from April 1 to June 30, Democratic candidate Judy Cates has raised about $49,000 for her campaign. Meanwhile, Republican candidate, Stephen P. McGlynn brought in $5,000.
Some say that the large number of personal injury law firms siding with Cates are expecting her to make plaintiff-friendly decisions at the appellate court since she is a personal injury lawyer herself. According to the American Tort Reform Foundation, the Madison and St. Clair County area (over which the 5th District presides) is the nation's fifth worst "Judicial Hellhole"--meaning that the ATR views the courts there as unfairly plaintiff-friendly.
Ed Murnane, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League, said his organization is likely to support McGlynn. In light of Cates's recent advances in fundraising, he stated, "Trial lawyers want her on the court because they think she will be favorable to them, rather than someone like McGlynn, who is viewed as a conservative Republican."
However, Chicago trial lawyer Larry Rogers, regarding his $2,500 donation to Cates, simply explained, "I think she would make an excellent justice." He also said she is well respected across the state.
Illinois candidate's recount case hits snag
On July 6, Associate Judge John A. Speroni of the First Judicial Circuit heard arguments concerning an amended filing to candidate Kent Renshaw's primary recount request. The filing would add Renshaw's opponent Eric Dirnbeck to the proceedings.
Attorneys Kent Renshaw and Eric Dirnbeck ran against each other in the five-way primary race for the Illinois Second Judicial Circuit Court. The results left Renshaw 42 votes short of Dirnbeck who was declared the winner. Due to the narrow gap between the two, Renshaw filed for a recount, but his orginal filing did not include Dirnbeck as a party in the case. As the declared election winner, Dirnbeck holds the right to be party to the case.
The case could grind to a halt if Judge Speroni does not allow the amendment. Speroni has not yet released a ruling, but is expected to soon. 
Washington Supreme Court race endorsements
According to the newspaper, incumbent Justice Steven Gonzalez, appointed in January to replace retiring Justice Gerry Alexander, should be re-elected to his position on the court. The Times praised his "common-sense ruling" in the recent case determining that liquor sales should be privatized in Washington state, claiming that if the 5-4 decision had turned out differently, "the result would have been chaos—and a disenfranchised electorate." Gonzalez will face Bruce O. Danielson in the primary election, who has been unsuccessful in three previous attempts to win election to judicial office.
The newspaper also supports incumbent Justice Susan Owens in her campaign for re-election to the state's highest court, in spite of the fact that the paper has not always agreed with the decisions she has made in her 12 years on the bench. Justice Owens will face Douglas W. McQuaid and Scott Stafne in the primary election.
- ↑ Texas GOP Vote, "Rep. Jodie Laubenberg endorses Justice David Medina for re-election on the Supreme Court of Texas," July 3, 2012
- ↑ The Madison/St. Clair Record, "Personal injury law firms pouring money into 5th District Appellate race", June 28, 2012
- ↑ Judicial Hellholes: About
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Madison/St. Clair Record, "Chicago money pours into 5th District Appellate Court race…", June 21, 2012
- ↑ The Southern, "Judicial candidate seeks recount," May 13, 2012
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Southern, "Judicial election case argued," July 07, 2012
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Seattle Times, "The Times recommends: Gonzalez and Owens for state Supreme Court," July 5, 2012
|This article was written by Katy Farrell, the Editor of Judgepedia. She can be reached at email@example.com.|