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Caulkins v Prizker Recusal Thread


mauserme

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On 3/9/2023 at 7:45 AM, mauserme said:

Ya' know, sometimes letting your opponents step in it on their own can be a strategy.

 

 

I see that. Caulkins doesn’t even need to do anything. If the judges don’t do what’s “right” (recuse themselves over the obvious  and blatant PERCEIVED conflict of interest), then a whole new door opens against them (federal litigation due to their non-action based on precedent already established)

Edited by steveTA84
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https://www.vandaliaradio.com/2023/03/09/124245/
 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker says despite his million-dollar donations to each of two Illinois Supreme Court justices, they are independent. Pritzker said he didn’t violate campaign finance laws he approved last year when before November’s election he gave half-a-million from both his campaign account and his trust fund to two supreme court candidates for a total of $2 million. Those candidates are now justices on the bench of seven to hear the no-cash bail challenge next week and the gun-ban challenge in May. Asked Wednesday if they should recuse themselves from the cases, Pritzker said they are independent justices.
 

Independent observers say judges should recuse themselves where there is any hint of conflict of interest.

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On 3/9/2023 at 8:44 AM, THE KING said:

If we had a credible justice system, Jelly Belly would be charged for violating the law he signed in regards to the cap on political donations. 

Someone could easily bring suit against that, and then when it works through the courts and gets to the ILSC, the judges would be forced to recuse LOL 

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Made the Chicago Tribune via letters to the editor 

https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/letters/ct-letters-vp-030923-20230308-ivdhcaep45g3hnb26ttgmllmvi-story.html


 

The need for recusal

Regarding the article “Expedited schedule for appeal of firearm ruling” (March 8), the question to ask is: Will the two Illinois Supreme Court justices who received $1 million each in campaign funding from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the defendant in the case, recuse themselves, or is the Illinois Supreme Court corrupt as well?

— David J. Fagan, Glen Ellyn

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On 3/9/2023 at 10:27 AM, South Side 27 said:

According to the commies over on Rich Millers Crap Fax blog this is a nothing burger claiming there is a clear separation between the Executive and the Judicial branch. Now that's funny.

Would you expect anything different from those NPC’s? I mean, clearly when you single individuals in the executive and legislative branches being the main (largest) bankrollers of members of the highest judicial branch in the land, of course that’s not a conflict of interest and again, of course this hasn’t already been settled by the US Supreme Court (/s). Let them cry and whine. They’re simple minded and already brainwashed. One more time for those in the back....

https://ballotpedia.org/Caperton_v._A.T._Massey_Coal_Co.

D245B20D-F659-43B1-A06B-0AA400EE8DFA.thumb.jpeg.18276fd55372fd8b78ba16225054c0c2.jpegE6375F58-0AF0-43CD-9B2F-EED49AF2E4B0.thumb.jpeg.445e5a26d2d07860e2efcf5929cf6840.jpeg

 

If they don’t like it, will they admit that the liberal wing of the court was wrong?

 

F182A399-131D-4F70-9154-007864674D08.jpeg.6eb2c6d7496f55fafa2907cbc7598671.jpeg 

Edited by steveTA84
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I notice that JB (circled text three posts above) doesn't differentiate between the state being a defendant, and he himself being named as such.

But that kind of makes a difference, no?

Edited by springfield shooter
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Rich Miller is upset and even tries to drag Darren B into it (even though he isn’t a defendant/party with judges he donated to). $1000 is comparable to $1,000,000? 🤣🤣B6ABEE78-08CB-48F8-A679-051998D7F432.jpeg.76e4b051304593d33705bc14542de433.jpeg

 

https://capitolfax.com/2023/03/09/question-of-the-day-3544/

 

* Anyway, on to the topic at hand. The Center Square has been trying hard to make this an issue

Gov. J.B. Pritzker doesn’t just appear at the top as a defendant in the Macon County gun-ban challenge in front of the Illinois Supreme Court. He’s also the top donor for two supreme court justices’ campaigns.

Pritzker donated a total of $2 million to then-Illinois Supreme Court candidates Mary O’Brien and Elizabeth Rochford, $1 million each.

According to the Illinois Sunshine database, Justice Mary K. O’Brien reported raising $16.9 million and Justice Elizabeth Rochford reported raising $54.8 million. So, Pritzker’s contributions made up 5.9 percent and 1.8 percent of their respective hauls.

House Speaker Chris Welch and Senate President Don Harmon also helped both candidates. Darren Bailey contributed a small amount to sitting Republican Justice David Overstreet, but his case didn’t make the cut, even though it makes nearly identical arguments. 

* More Center Square

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that despite his million-dollar donations to two Illinois Supreme Court justices last year, they are independent and should not have to recuse themselves from two high-profile cases before them in which the governor is a defendant. […]

“If you’re suggesting that the fact that I gave money to let’s say the Democratic Party or the committees that supported candidates means that everybody who’s received any money has to recuse themselves from anything to do with the state of Illinois, that’s ridiculous,” Pritzker said at an unrelated event in Springfield. “And I’ve certainly never asked anybody to vote a certain way or decide on a case a certain way. I would never do that. I never have and I never will.”

Independent observers say judges should recuse themselves where there is any hint of conflict of interest. Chris Forsyth with the nonpartisan Judicial Integrity Project in Colorado told The Center Square that trust in the judicial system is crucial in American society.

* The Question: Should Justices O’Brien and Rochford recuse themselves from any and all cases involving the governor and the legislative leaders? If so, for how long? Make sure to explain your answer.

…Adding… Some context from the comment section…

Is it worth repeating that the judicial canons forbid judges from ever raising money? They can authorize others to raise money on their behalf during a campaign but they aren’t supposed to be directly involved in the ask. They can greet supporters at events, they can mingle with voters, they can go grocery shopping and interact with folks there, but they have more-than-plausible-deniability that they know or care where the money came from.

Edited by steveTA84
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On 3/9/2023 at 9:43 AM, steveTA84 said:

Made the Chicago Tribune via letters to the editor 

https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/letters/ct-letters-vp-030923-20230308-ivdhcaep45g3hnb26ttgmllmvi-story.html


 

The need for recusal

Regarding the article “Expedited schedule for appeal of firearm ruling” (March 8), the question to ask is: Will the two Illinois Supreme Court justices who received $1 million each in campaign funding from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the defendant in the case, recuse themselves, or is the Illinois Supreme Court corrupt as well?

— David J. Fagan, Glen Ellyn

hit twitter too

President Non_Fudd

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State House Republicans now pursing ethics reforms over this 

https://www.1470wmbd.com/2023/03/09/spain-other-gop-lawmakers-want-further-state-ethics-reforms/

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A local lawmaker says there’s been a lot of work done by his party on ethics legislation in recent years given recent state political scandals, thanks in part to a now-resigning U.S. Attorney in northern Illinois.

 

At a news conference in Springfield Thursday, however, Republican State Representative Ryan Spain says you might not know that thanks to the Democrats.

 

“Even though that special investigating committee was convened, it was impaneled, and ultimately swept under the rug — many of the corrupt activities and misconduct from Speaker (Mike) Madigan — we shined a light on this topic, and we’re here to continue shining a light on this topic today,” said Spain (R-Peoria).

 

Spain and other House Republicans want exposed and eliminated potential conflicts of interest among lawmakers, want the inspector general in the state to be given more power to investigate claims of fraud and abuse, and they even want a resolution against putting up any portraits of Madigan in that chamber.

 

The Illinios Supreme Court will hear arguments next week on the so-called “cashless bail” provisions in the state’s Safe-T Act, and a lawmaker who wants more ethics reform in Springfield thinks that should include the Governor.

 

Governor JB Pritzker Spain and House Republicans allege, gave a total of $2 million each to the Illinois Supreme Court campaigns of Justice Mary K. O’Brien and Elizabeth Rochford, even though a 2022 law capped contributions from “any single person” to $500,000 per candidate.

 

“The legislature worked very deliberately, with the cooperation of the government, to gerrymander the judicial maps, after voters came forward. Let’s remember, 600,000 voters said ‘we need to change how we deliver redistricting in the State of Illinois.’ Then, the Democrats went forward and said ‘we’re going to change the composition of the court system.'”

 

 

 

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https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/article_ea1b9c34-bf8e-11ed-a78e-7b95acb6647f.html


 

The Center Square) – Attention on judicial integrity has been raised with the focus on $2 million in campaign contributions Gov. J.B. Pritzker made to two Illinois Supreme Court justice candidates who won in November. The court hears cases next week. In one high-profile case, Pritzker is a top defendant. 

 

Pritkzer downplayed his $1 million donation to each of two then-supreme court candidates who are now on the bench of seven. He gave half a million from each of his political campaign and his revocable trust to Supreme Court candidates Mary O’Brien and Elizabeth Rochford. That's despite the governor signing into law last year limiting contributions to such campaigns to $500,000 from single individuals.


 

Longtime politics professor Kent Redfield said electing judges can cause problems. 

 

“Then the general public starts to think of judges once they get elected as any other elected official,” Redfield told The Center Square. 

 

Any appearance of conflict like campaign contributions can foster distrust in the judiciary, Redfield said.  

 

“That calls into people’s minds the legitimacy of the court in general or the specific rulings of the court,” he said. 

 

Changing Illinois’ elected judiciary into an appointed one would require a constitutional change but Redfield said appointing judges also has pitfalls of perceived bias.

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https://www.shawlocal.com/northwest-herald/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2023/03/11/letter-impartial-state-supreme-court/
 

When Elizabeth Rochford and Mary Kay O’Brien were candidates for the Illinois Supreme Court, both stated in campaign ads that they were pro-abortion and anti-gun. That doesn’t sound like they’ll be impartial when applying the law.

A Macon County judge ruled last week that Gov. JB Pritzker’s gun ban violated the Illinois State Constitution and issued an injunction against the ban’s enforcement. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed an appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court.

Pritzker signed 10 ILCS 5/9-8.5 in November 2021, which limited judges campaign contributions to $500,000. He donated $500,000 to O’Brien and to Rochford from his campaign funds in September 2022. Pritzker also donated $500,000 to O’Brien and to Rochford from his personal trust fund in October 2022 (source: Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022). The “law” was suspended last November.

In addition, they both received money that wasn’t disclosed until after the election. State law requires it be disclosed before the election (source: Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022).

Gov. Pritzker is the first defendant listed in the gun ban lawsuit. Do you think the judges he backed financially will be impartial? Will they recuse themselves due to a conflict? I’m thinking when pigs fly.

We now have permanent voting by mail with the signature matching the ballot application. Now the legislature is pushing ranked-choice voting?

It just keeps getting better every day.

Anthony J. Santinello

Edited by steveTA84
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https://kanecountyreporter.com/stories/640080407-forsyth-on-pritzker-welch-illinois-supreme-court-candidate-donations-political-donations-can-lead-to-issues-of-judicial-integrity
 

Illinois Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker donated $1 million each from his reelection campaign to the campaigns of then-State Supreme Court candidates Mary O'Brien and Elizabeth Rochford, both of whom won their elections, a recent release from The Center Squaresaid.

Later, in 2022, Pritzker signed a law capping campaign contribution limits to $500,000 from "any single person," the release said. He is now a defendant in the Macon County gun-ban challenge set to be held in front of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D-Hillside) is another top donor to the justices, with the "People for Emanuel Chris Welch" fund donating $350,000 to O'Brien and $150,000 to Rochford. Welch is also a defendant in both the gun-ban challenge and the challenge against the state's no-cash bail law, which is currently on hold and pending appeal.

The Illinois Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the no-cash bail case on Tuesday. It is currently unknown if O'Brien and Rochford will recuse themselves, although justices can be listed as "took no part" in certain cases when opinions are issued.

“If we don’t have confidence in the opinions the judicial branch issues then our judicial branch is failing,” Chris Forsyth, executive director of the Judicial Integrity Project, told The Center Square. “Political donations can lead to issues of judicial integrity and the United States Supreme Court has said so. In some cases, they have found political donations to be so grave that there is a conflict of interest that is impermissible.”

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Wirepoints blasted Pritzker today

 

https://wirepoints.org/pritzkers-contemptuous-answer-to-a-reasonable-question-on-judicial-recusal-wirepoints/

 

Should judges who received a million dollars each from Gov. JB Pritzker for their campaigns recuse themselves from decisions on the constitutionality of two of his pet pieces of legislation — the SAFE-T Act and the assault weapons ban?


 

That’s a predictable and fair question which surely has occurred to many Illinoisans. Recusal probably isn’t in the cards for reasons I will explain, but the question certainly didn’t warrant Pritzker’s answer, which was smug, autocratic and unresponsive.

The question was put to Pritzker last week by Greg Bishop of Center Square. Pritzker donated a total of $2 million from two separate accounts to then-Illinois Supreme Court candidates Mary O’Brien and Elizabeth Rochford, $1 million each, for their recent elections.

Pritzker started with the go-to response used by today’s left: “right wing.” Just brush off any question you don’t like as being from the right wing. “I am sure this is something that the right wing is trying to stir up,” Pritzker said. “I know you’ve written about it.”

He went on to say it was “ridiculous” to suggest that anyone who received money from him should have to recuse themselves. “And I’ve certainly never asked anybody to vote a certain way or decide on a case a certain way. I would never do that. I never have and I never will.”

That’s no answer, either. Nobody ever suggested that he directly asked for a quid pro quo. The obvious issue, instead, is whether human nature creates a sense of obligation. Even the most ethical among us may be influenced by the sense of gratitude from a million dollar gift.

Watch the video clip of Pritzker’s answer, the tone of which also shows his disdain for the fair question.

 

Under Illinois’ system, recusal is generally not required because of campaign contributions. However, that’s not a very satisfying answer.

Illinois’ Code of Judicial Conduct generally speak to “disqualification,” not recusal. “A judge shall be disqualified in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” says Rule 2.11.

You might think that a million bucks in campaign contributions pretty clearly makes impartiality reasonably questionable, but that’s not how the Illinois system works. The general idea is that judicial candidates’ campaign committees, not the candidate, do the campaign fundraising, as reflected in Rule 4.4, and that somehow removes any taint.

Yeah, right.

Here are pictures of Pritzker with the two supreme court candidates in question. The O’Brien picture from Pritzker’s Facebook page says, “This November, it’s all on the line. It’s so important we elect Democrats like…Mary Kay O’Brien up and down the ballot!” And the one with Rochford from her campaign’s Facebook page says, “Always a great night when you can receive an award AND spend time with our amazing Governor JB Pritzker and the lovely first lady MK Pritzker.”
 

The notion that candidates are separate from their committees is fantasy, but that’s the premise in our system.

While the justices therefore face no mandatory disqualification, whether they could choose to voluntarily step aside is apparently a different matter. The murkiness there is illustrated in a decision last year, Sigcho-Lopez v. Illinois State Board of Elections, in which three justices voluntarily recused themselves, leaving only four justices to decide the case, which is the minimum needed for a majority opinion. They offered no reason for their recusal that I can find, so that’s apparently acceptable.

It’s therefore conceivable that the justices who got Pritzker money would step aside voluntarily, recognizing the exceptionally large amount of money at issue and the importance of the cases. On the other hand, they wouldn’t want to set a vague precedent about recusal based on campaign contributions. I wouldn’t expect voluntary recusal in any event.

You are not alone if all that leaves unsatisfied about the recusal issue. Chicago Appleseed, a public interest law center, put it this way several years ago, and it still applies:

At this moment in time, the precise changes to the recusal canons are less important than the Court’s understanding that the existing rules are no longer sufficient for public confidence in the independence of the judiciary. Courts cannot function when their communities do not believe they are impartial, ethical, and governed without bias. A court which remedies its own weaknesses may earn the trust of all of us.

 

 

That’s why a thoughtful, responsive answer would have been appropriate for the question put to Pritzker, not the obnoxious and condescending one he gave.

 

 

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Anything with a pulse should understand Chicago/Illinois is full of corruption.  I can't get over JB's response when asked about this.  Why is he so quick to reply that he would never ask a judge to decide on a case from JB's orders.  Making donations to a then candidate isn't anything questionable to me.  Preemptively responding with that only raises more inquiry.

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  • mauserme changed the title to Caulkins v Prizker Recusal Thread
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