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The [Thursday] Papers

"The Illinois Supreme Court justices deliberating the fate of Rahm Emanuel's bid for Chicago mayor are sworn to uphold the state constitution without regard for special interests, yet that same document requires them to run for election in an inherently political system," the Tribune reports this morning.

"While much of the high court's work is done in relative anonymity, the pedigrees of the justices are fodder for debate whenever they tackle high-profile cases with political consequences - from deciding a close governor's race to ruling on the district maps that determine which party will control the Legislature.

"In the Emanuel case, that debate may have been inevitable. Three of the four justices on the court's Democratic majority were endorsed during their careers by the Cook County Democratic Party.

"The head of the party's judicial slating committee is powerful Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, who is supporting Gery Chico in the mayoral race. And Burke is the husband of Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke."

*

"Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke today rejected the notion that she should recuse herself from deciding on the residency case involving mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel," Crain's reports.

"'Aren't we beyond that? Women have minds of their own. We have spouses in every kind of business. Are we returning to the days of Myra Bradwell?' she said, referring to the Illinois suffragette who was initially denied the right to practice law because she was a woman. She went on to become the state's first female lawyer."

Huh?

*

Burke's response is not only an arrogant and misguided evasion, it's disingenuous.

"Since being appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court in April 2006, Anne Burke has abstained from voting on three other cases involving the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, according to court records reviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Government Association.

"She 'took no part' in two rulings on Feb. 23, 2007, when the state's high court overturned the election board, ruling that two former Chicago aldermen - Virgil Jones and Ambrosio Medrano - couldn't seek election to the City Council seats they'd lost when they were convicted on corruption charges.

"Justice Burke also abstained on Jan. 19, 2007, when the Supreme Court upheld elections that had banned alcohol sales in two Chicago precincts despite ballots that contained incorrect Chinese-language translations.

"Since Burke joined the court, it has made more than 10,000 rulings. Burke has abstained 99 times - the most on the court, records show."

How sexist. Can't she think for herself?

*

"The justices don't explain why they step aside from hearing or voting on a case, and there's no law or court rule that requires them to do so. Freeman, though, has provided the court clerk with a 'recusal list'' showing potential conflicts of interest that might prompt him to abstain from voting. The court has refused to disclose that list. It's unclear whether the other justices have such 'recusal lists.'

"Justice Burke 'took no part' in two cases involving the city of Chicago, court records show - one involving a condemnation case for O'Hare Airport expansion and the other over the city's emergency medical response to a 5-year-old boy who died."

American Airlines is a client of Ed Burke's law firm; his finance committee settles claims against the city.

*

Ironically, Anne Burke ascended to the state's high court by avoiding the ballot.

*

I'm reminded of the time Rod Blagojevich called the media "Neanderthal and sexist" for stories like this.

Let's not cheapen the charge.

*

"Joseph Tybor, spokesman for the Supreme Court, said it would be unfair to imply the high court is tainted by politics simply because the constitution requires they be elected. 'I challenge you to find one case, or two cases, in which a judicial decision was made because of improper political influence,' he said."

Show us the recusal list and we'll get started.

*

But then, politics would never affect a supreme court decision, especially in Illinois, whose courts have always been pristine.

Rahm's Rules Pt. 1
We're not talking about paperclips and middle initials here; we're talking about the fundamental requirement of residency. Let's make sure our outrage is properly directed - and not ginned up by malevolent forces. First in a series.

The Chicago Mexican-American History Museum
What's it doing inside the Ford City Mall?

Going Postal
Area Man: Chicago Post Office Destroyed Green Bay Tourism Mag.

Kramerica: The Movie
They were going to put an end to maritime oil spills.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: We care about Kramerica.



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Posted on January 27, 2011


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock Including Riot Fest Highlights.
TV - 24 Hours With WYCC.
POLITICS - Wolfpack vs. Obama.
SPORTS - Joe Maddon's Magical Mystery Tour.

BOOKS - Why Al-Qaeda Is Still Strong.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Mural Man.


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