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Women and the Law NewsletterThe newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Women and the Law

March 2002, vol. 7, no. 3

Women candidates for the judiciary

Running for office requires a great deal of courage. Campaigning can be physically and financially draining. The politics can sometimes get downright brutal. Despite these challenges, women are seeking office in record numbers. This is particularly true with respect to the judiciary. Although we are not endorsing any particular candidates in the judicial elections, we thought our readers would appreciate knowing about the brave women who are currently seeking election to the bench.

Primary candidates for the Illinois Supreme Court

The Honorable Sue E. Myerscough, a Springfield Democrat, and Honorable Rita B. Garman, a Danville Republican, seek to fill the vacancy of Supreme Court Justice Benjamin K. Miller.

Justice Myerscough received her B.A. with honors from Southern Illinois University (SIU) and her J.D. from SIU Law School in 1980. She served as a law clerk for Judge Harold A. Baker, U.S. District Court, Danville, and was in private practice until her appointment as associate judge in 1987. In 1990, she was nominated to the circuit court and in 1994 became Chief Judge of the Illinois Seventh Judicial Circuit. Justice Myerscough was elected in 1998 to the Fourth District Appellate Court.

Justice Garman received a B.S. from the University of Illinois in 1965 and her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1968. She served as Assistant State's Attorney in Vermilion County for nearly four years, and spent a year in private practice. She held the bench as an associate circuit judge and a circuit judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. In 1995, she was assigned to the appellate court, Fourth District and the following year she was elected to the position. In 2001, Justice Garman was appointed to the supreme court to fill the vacancy of the Honorable Benjamin K. Miller.

Primary candidates for the Illinois appellate courts

First District

The Honorable Denise O'Malley is a Democratic candidate in Chicago for the vacancy of Justice William Cousins, Jr. She received her Bachelor's degree from Mundelein College in 1961, her M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1971, and her J.D. from John Marshall Law School in 1981. She worked as an assistant state's attorney for almost four years, and followed her public service with several years in private practice. She currently sits as a circuit court judge for Cook County and instructs as an adjunct professor at John Marshall Law School.

Aurelia Marie Pucinski is a Republican candidate in Chicago for the vacancy of Justice Thomas R. Rakowski. Ms. Pucinski graduated from Catholic University and DePaul University Law School. She worked for the Chicago Corporation Counsel's Office and previously held office as the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Second District

Barbara G. Johnson is a Republican candidate from Barrington for the Honorable Lawrence D. Inglis vacancy. She received her Bachelor's from DePaul University in 1974 and her J.D from Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent in 1978. She acted as an assistant Illinois attorney general, an assistant state's attorney for Lake County and worked in private practice for several years.

Third District

Barbara Van Auken of Peoria and Dawn Conolly of Galesburg are both Democratic candidates for the vacancy of the Honorable Peg Breslin. Also seeking the office is Republican Jane Radostits from Homer Glen.

Ms. Van Auken received her Bachelor's from Bradley University and her J.D. from the University of Illinois. She has practiced for many years, initially with the NLRB and later as principal attorney for the Central Illinois Light Company.

Ms. Connolly received her Bachelor of Arts as well as her J.D. from Southern Illinois University.

Ms. Radostits received degrees in Criminal Justice and Political Science in 1982 from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her J.D. from John Marshall Law School. She served as prosecutor for the Cook County's State's Attorney Office. Currently, she works as an assistant states attorney for DuPage County as the Deputy Chief of Special Prosecutions.

Fifth District

The Honorable Melissa Chapman, a Democrat from Edwardsville, is running to fill the vacancy of retiring Judge Charles Chapman. Justice Chapman received her B.A. and M.A. from Southern Illinois University and her J.D. from St. Louis University. She worked as a mental health counselor for five years before attending law school. She practiced for 18 years before being appointed in June 2001 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Charles Chapman.

Primary candidates for the Illinoiscircuit courts

Cook Circuit

Nancy A. Donahoe from Riverside and Margaret Ann Brennan from Western Springs both seek the vacancy of Honorable Leonard L. Levin.

Ms. Donahoe attended Michigan State University and Chicago-Kent College of Law. She works at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Ms. Brennan did her undergraduate work at the University of Illinois and obtained her law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law. She is employed in the Exelon Corporation Legal Department, specializing in litigation.

Eileen Mary Brewer is seeking to fill the vacancy of Judge Fitzgerald. Ms. Brewer obtained her B.A. from Le Moyne College and her J.D. from Harvard.

Mary Anne Mason, a Democrat from La Grange, is seeking the vacancy of the Honorable Judge O'Connell. She received a B.A. from Boston College and a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago. She currently serves as a circuit court judge for Cook County.

Domenica Ann Stephenson, a Democrat from La Grange Park, seeks the vacancy of the Honorable Willie M. Whiting.

Noreen Valeria Love, a Democrat from Bellwood, seeks the vacancy of the Honorable Michael Buckley Bolan. She received a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. Love served in the United States Army for five years. She also worked as a research assistant at Loyola University for a year, as law clerk for the Cook County Public Defender's Office, and as an assistant public defender from 1989-1994. She subsequently worked in private practice for nearly seven years and is currently a supervisor in the Cook County Public Defender's Office.

Kerry M. Kennedy and Penelope Morris, both Democrats from Chicago, are seeking the vacancy of the Honorable Thomas P. Durkin. Ms. Morris received a B.A. from Loyola University Chicago and a J.D. from DePaul University. She currently serves as an assistant public defender for Cook County.

Laura Marie Sullivan of Oak Lawn and the Honorable Moira Susan Johnson of Chicago, both Democrats, seek the vacancy of Honorable Thomas A. Hett. Justice Johnson currently sits as a circuit court judge. She received her undergraduate education from Sarah Lawrence College in Broxville, N.Y and her J.D from DePaul University College of Law. She worked in private practice for several years and as a referee for the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Sheila McGinnis, a Democrat from Chicago, seeks the vacancy of the Honorable Aubrey F. Kaplan. She received a B.A. from Marquette University and a J.D. from John Marshall Law School.

6th Circuit

Katherine McCarthy, a Democrat from Decatur, seeks the vacancy of the Honorable Judge Patton.

7th Circuit

Lois A. Bell, a Republican from Winchester, seeks to fill the vacancy of the Honorable Ronald F. Robinson. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and her J.D from the University of Illinois College of Law. She has been in private practice over fifteen years.

10th Circuit

Jerelyn Maher, a Democrat from Tremont, seeks the vacancy of Judge Bruce W. Black. She completed her undergraduate work at Bradley University and received a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago. She worked in private practice before receiving an appointment to serve as an associate judge. She retained this position for six years until her appointment to the Tenth Circuit as an Associate Circuit Judge.

12th Circuit-B

The Honorable Paula A. Gomora, a Democrat from Plainfield, and Susan T. O'Leary, a Republican from Shorewood, are seeking the B vacancy for the Twelfth Circuit.

Justice Gomora received a B.A. from Knox College in 1984 and her law degree from John Marshall Law School in 1987. Currently she serves as a circuit court judge for the Twelfth Circuit. Before her appointment, she worked in private practice for twelve years in Will County.

Ms. O'Leary received a B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a J.D. from Chicago Kent College of Law. She also attended the University of Glasgow in Scotland. She currently works as the senior legal counsel and deputy chief counsel for the Department of Corrections.

12th Circuit-C

Judge Carla Alessio Goode, a Republican from Shorewood, seeks the Circuit Judge vacancy C. She graduated from Lewis University and received her J.D. from John Marshall Law School in 1987. Prior to her appointment as associate judge for the Twelfth Circuit, she worked in private practice. From 1987 until 1991 she served as an assistant Will County public defender.

16th Circuit

Judge Judy Brawka, a Republican from Aurora, seeks the vacancy of Honorable Patrick J. Dixon. She received her Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in 1975 from DePaul University Chicago and a J.D cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law Chicago. Judge Brawka currently serves as an associate judge for the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit. She previously served as an assistant public defender from 1986-1990 and as a public defender from 1986-1990.

17th Circuit

Marilyn Hite Ross, a Democrat from Rockford, seeks the vacancy of the Honorable Michael R. Morrison.

The Honorable Rosemary Collins, a Democrat from Belvidere, seeks the vacancy of Honorable K. Craig Peterson. Judge Collins currently sits as an associate judge for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit.

18th Circuit

The Honorable Kathryn Creswell, a Republican from Wheaton, seeks the vacancy of Justice Thomas E. Callum. She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from DePaul College of Law in Chicago. She currently serves as a circuit court judge for the Eighteenth Circuit. Before her appointment, she worked for ten years with the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office and as a Cook County prosecutor.

20th Circuit

Judy Rau, a Democrat from Columbia, seeks to fill the vacancy of the Honorable Dennis J. Jacobsen. She received a B.S from Saint Louis University and a Masters of Arts in English in 1962 from Saint Louis University. In 1975, Rau received her J.D from Saint Louis University School of Law. She acted as an assistant public defender in St. Clair County, Illinois for nearly two years, and currently works in private practice.

The Honorable Annette A. Eckert, a Democrat from Belleville, seeks the vacancy of the Honorable Stephen M. Kernan. She received a B.A. from Bradley University and a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law. She worked in private practice for several years and served as an assistant public defender for Cook County for two years. She served for nearly three years as a presiding judge for the Twentieth Circuit and currently sits as an associate circuit court judge.

21st Circuit

The Honorable Susan Sumner Tungate, a Republican from Cissna Park, seeks the vacancy of Honorable Fred S. Carr, Jr. She received a B.A. and B.S. in 1970 from Illinois Wesleyan University. She attended John Marshall Law School and Loyola of New Orleans Law School. Tungate was appointed Special Prosecutor for Iroquois County and served for nearly eight years as an assistant public Defender. She worked in private practice for 21years and currently serves as an associate judge for the Twenty-First Judicial Circuit.


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