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State of Illinois

Judicial Selection in the States: Illinois

Overview

News

The Montana House State Administration Committee yesterday approved a bill to require judges recuse from cases due to campaign contributions. Under HB 157 as approved...

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A plan to require Wyoming judicial nominating commission members to be subject to senate confirmation appears to have died. Wyoming s top courts use a...

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This is proving to be an unprecedented year in terms of the number of efforts to either switch from partisan to nonpartisan judicial elections or...

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Courtesy of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of...

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The Illinois judiciary is composed of the supreme court, the appellate court, and the circuit court. Illinois judges are initially chosen in partisan elections. Judges run in uncontested, nonpartisan retention elections to serve additional terms. Judges of the supreme court and appellate court serve ten-year terms; circuit court judges serve six-year terms.

In 2004, Illinois saw the most expensive judicial election campaign in history, with the two candidates for a district-based seat on the supreme court raising $9.3 million--more than was raised in 18 of the 34 U.S. Senate races that year. Major contributors included trial lawyers, labor leaders, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Tort Reform Association. These groups had a vested interest in the outcome of this race. The judicial district represented by the seat includes Madison County, a jurisdiction that has become nationally known for large tort awards, and the justice who holds this seat has the authority to fill judicial vacancies that arise in the district's trial courts between elections.