Great piece today by Greg Hinz in Crain’s Chicago Business about the efforts by the Illinois Civil Justice League[ICJL] to unseat Illinois Supreme Court Judge Thomas Kilbride. [pictured above]. The ICJL, through its political action committe JUSTPAC has issued a couple of vicious smears on Kilbride. A recent JUSTPAC radio ad featured actors, playing criminals, recounting the gory details of their violent crimes. And then the ad says the Kilbride “sided” with the criminals.
Couple of points need to be made here. First, Kilbride is widely respected throughout the state by police officers, prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers – of both parties. Former Governor James Thompson[who knows a thing or two about being tough on crime] has even endorsed him. So any suggestion Kilbride is somehow soft on crime is flat wrong.
Secondly, it should be noted that the ICJL doesn’t really even care about criminal law. ICJL is a pro-business group that desperately wants to restrict the rights of ordinary citizens to sue when injured by corporate negligence. The ILCJ was particularly incensed when Kilbride, along with 3 other Illinois Supreme Court judges, voted to strike down a legislative effort to place caps on the damages victims of medical malpractice might recover. Just as similar legislation had been struck down on two similar occasion. So the ILCJ is targeting Kilbride.
But their ads don’t mention the issues they are really pushing – like the gutting of the Illinois civil jury trial system. According to ILCJ spokesman Ed Murnane, “Med mal and tort reform are not the kind of thing that voters pay attention to.”
So, what does the ILCJ do? Taking a page from the Karl Rove playbook, it makes a bunch of wild, misleading charges. Involving criminal law – an area in which the ILCJ has little interest and less expertise. How many of the corporate fat cats at the ILCJ have ever effectuated an arrest? Prosecuted a felony? Presided over a rape trial? Not many.
So it appears the ILCJ is a group that a) makes misleading ads b) about something they know little about; c) on a subject that really doesn’t interest them. Not much justice in that particular League.

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