The Bar News

IJA releases new statement regarding unfair criticism of Justice Kilbride

From the Illinois Judges Association – The special interest groups trying to oust incoming Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court Tom Kilbride in his retention election pose a direct threat to fairness and impartiality of all Illinois judges. Through the use of deceptive and slick marketing, those sullying Justice Tom Kilbride are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for their own ideological and political ends at the expense of the touchstone of the American legal system – a judiciary independent of all influences and interests. The Illinois Judges Association opposes any effort to “get” judges for doing their jobs. It undermines the ability of judges to carry out their judicial functions. It constitutes a dangerous intrusion upon independent judicial decision-making. And it is a blatant affront to everyone that the judiciary serves. The public rightly demands that judges decide cases based on the law, not policy, popularity, or political views. As John Adams declared in the Declaration of Rights of the Massachusetts Constitution, "It is the right of every citizen to be tried by judges as free, impartial and independent as the lot of humanity will admit." Yet, the incendiary attacks on Justice Kilbride seek nothing of the sort. To achieve their ends, special interest groups have resorted to ugly misrepresentations and falsehood of Justice Kilbride’s opinions. What political motive do they have? Playing politics with a judge's record, distorting it for political reasons, is unfair and dishonest. Get the truth about Justice Tom Kilbride. Look at the ratings and evaluations by the major newspapers in Illinois and the Illinois State Bar Association, a non-partisan group. Ask a friend who is a lawyer or a judge. Vote on the basis of facts, not propaganda or an orchestrated disinformation media barrage.  Once we allow judges to become intimidated or become mere tools of individuals or groups wanting to assert their own interests, to paraphrase Alexander Hamilton, the constitution is a dead letter. And, it might be said, so are our American values of justice. The Illinois Judges Association is the statewide organization for members of the Illinois judiciary. It is made up of about 1,000 active and retired judges. It can be reached at (312) 431-1283 or visited on the web at
Posted on October 26, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
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