Illinois Judicial Eligibility Amendment (2010)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
The proposed summary as it was filed read:
Proposes to amend the Judiciary Article of the Illinois Constitution. Provides that a person must have been a licensed attorney-at-law for a minimum of ten years to be eligible to serve as a Circuit Judge, a minimum of twelve years to be eligible to serve as an Appellate Judge, and a minimum of fifteen years to be eligible to serve as a Supreme Court Judge, except that a person serving as a Judge on December 31, 2010 is not disqualified from completing the current term of office or seeking an additional term. Effective upon being declared adopted.
Supporters argued that the proposed legislation would have ensured that someone wouldn't be able to become a judge without the appropriate knowledge. Rep. John Fritchey said, "This would ensure that we have qualified people on the bench. The reality is that, all too often, voters simply look at surnames of judicial candidates without qualifications."
- The Illinois State Bar Association board of directors voted unanimously to support the measure's proposed requirements, according to executive director David Anderson.
- Ron Spears, president of the Illinois Judges Association, said the proposed changes would have been "in the best interest of judges." Spears added,"I think it is important to have highly qualified judges – experience is critical."
- Andrew Leipold, a professor of law at the University of Illinois, said the requirements under the proposed amendment would have most likely not have had a huge impact on quality. Leipold said, "There are people who have practiced for just a few years but have done very intense and sophisticated work that would give them lots of experience relevant to judges. And then there are those who have been practicing for 20 years but with a narrow kind of work that could make them an expert on a certain subject, but doesn’t mean they have the experience needed to become a judge."
Path to the ballot
- See also: How to amend the Illinois Constitution
On March 23, 2010 House Speaker Madigan postponed the House vote after it appeared that the proposal would fail to pass following a preliminary vote in which the measure fell short. The proposed amendment required 3/5 approval from both houses.
- KMOX, "Voters may decide on judges qualifications," March 17, 2010 (dead link)
- Illinois Legislature, "Synopsis As Introduced HJRCA0057," accessed March 18, 2010
- The State Journal-Register, "Madigan pushes for judicial experience amendment," March 21, 2010
- Journal Star, "Madigan wants to toughen Illinois judiciary rules," March 22, 2010
- Daily Herald, "House rejects judicial experience standard," March 23, 2010
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Road bump for Madigan’s amendment to change requirements for Ill. judges," March 23, 2010
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