Member Groups

Supreme/Appellate Court Election Campaign Tone and Conduct

The organization for and the responsibilities of the Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on Supreme and Appellate Court Election Campaign Tone and Conduct shall be as provided below.

1. Purpose of the Committee. The purpose of the Committee is to:

(a) Educate the public on the guidelines for judicial candidates set forth in the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and Code of Judicial Conduct. This work will be done in partnership with judicial candidates and in cooperation with the media;

(b) encourage judicial candidates to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary during campaigns by presenting campaign materials that adhere to the spirit and letter of these rules; and

(c) ask that candidates discourage third party advertisements that reflect negatively on the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

2. Scope of Committee Consideration. The committee will consider matters pertaining to campaign advertising of which it becomes aware. "Campaign advertising" shall be deemed to be any statement or campaign material pertaining to a candidate or a judicial election. Campaign advertising may include newspaper, radio, or television communications, website or other electronic communication, and other forms of communication including, but not limited to, campaign speeches, interviews, press releases, brochures, flyers, sample ballots, yard signs or other material intended to influence the outcome of the election for justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois or justice of the Appellate Court of Illinois.

3. Determinations of Committee, Request for Candidate Action. If the committee determines that campaign advertising, as defined above, is of a type or nature as may adversely affect the reputation or integrity of the courts, the committee will notify all candidates seeking election to the judicial office affected by the advertising.

If the source of the campaign advertisement is a candidate, the committee may ask the candidate to withdraw the particular advertisement or to take such other action as may be appropriate in the interest of protecting the reputation and integrity of the court.

If the source of the campaign advertisement is not a candidate, the committee may request that the relevant candidate disavow the advertisement and make a public statement disavowing the advertisement or take other relevant action.

After making a request to a candidate or candidates to take any of the actions described in this section, the committee may make a public statement to news media.

4. Candidate Pledge. The committee shall request all candidates for justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois and judge of the Illinois Appellate Court to execute a pledge substantially in the form of Exhibit A.

5. Structure, Organization of the Committee. The President shall appoint the committee. Appointments shall be for two-year terms.

The committee shall consist of not more than nine persons, two of whom may be non-lawyers. The President shall endeavor to include at least one and preferably two former members of the Illinois Supreme Court on the committee. Officers of the Association are eligible for appointment.

The President shall endeavor to substantially balance the political party affiliations of the members of the committee. At least one resident of each judicial district shall be a member.

The officers of the committee shall be appointed for two-year terms by the President. The officers shall include a chair, a vice-chair, and a secretary. A quorum shall be a majority of the members of the committee. A quorum must be present for the transaction of business at any meeting. Voting by proxy is not allowed for any purpose.

6. Prohibited Conduct by Committee Members.

(a) No member of the committee who is a registered voter in any district of the Illinois Supreme Court where a campaign is being monitored may vote on committee action relating to that campaign.

(b) No member of the committee who is a registered voter in any district of the Illinois Appellate Court where a campaign is being monitored may vote on committee action relating to that campaign.

(c) No member of the committee shall, during the period of his or her membership on the committee:

(1) make any contribution to the election campaign of any candidate for the Supreme Court of Illinois or Illinois Appellate Court;

(2) participate in any way in promoting the election campaign of any candidate for the Supreme Court of Illinois or Illinois Appellate Court; or

(3) promote the effort of any person to be appointed to fill a judicial vacancy on the Supreme Court of Illinois or the Illinois Appellate Court.

7. Confidentiality of Committee Proceedings; Confidentiality Pledge. Deliberations, discussions and records of the committee shall be confidential. Individual remarks of committee members shall not be divulged to anyone other than to other committee members. Each committee member has the expectation of privacy in discussing issues with the committee. All members of the committee shall sign and adhere to the confidentiality pledge.

8. Communication with the media. Only the chair or her/or his designee may communicate with the media. No public or media statements by or on behalf of the committee shall be authorized, except by the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the committee, and with the prior approval of the ISBA President.

9. Meetings of the committee shall be held as needed during the election cycle for elections to the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Appellate Court. Meetings shall be held at the offices of the Illinois State Bar Association, or such other place as may be determined by the chair. Meetings may be held by conference call.