Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Windy City Times 2023-12-13



ELECTIONS Democrats may lose Illinois Supreme Court majority for the first time in over 50 years on Nov. 8
by Carrie Maxwell

This article shared 2334 times since Wed Oct 19, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Since 1969, the Illinois Supreme Court has had a Democratic majority—but that might change after the Nov. 8 elections.

Should Gov. JB Pritzker be re-elected and the Illinois Supreme Court flips to Republican control, those justices could place roadblocks on his agenda. They also may roll back already enacted state laws that enshrine LGBTQ+ and abortion rights, gun control measures and other social and economic issues passed by the Democratic supermajority in the Illinois state legislature over the years.

Conversely, if Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey wins his election, this potential new conservative court may also help him with his political agenda.

Article VI of the Illinois Constitution states that the Illinois Supreme Court consists of seven justices who are elected from five judicial districts. Cook County makes up the first district and has three justices (all of whom are Democrats) while the remaining four districts (drawn based on county boundaries) have one apiece. Republicans control districts four and five and are not up for re-election this year. All but district one was redrawn after the 2020 Census. Only the residents that reside in each specific district can vote for these candidates.

This year, the 10-year terms for the second and third Supreme Court districts are up and whomever wins each of these races will be on the bench for at least the next ten years. The winders of these two elections would only face a retention vote in 2032.

Democratic candidate and 19th Circuit Court Associate Judge Elizabeth Rochford is facing off against Republican candidate and former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran in the second Supreme Court district while Democratic candidate and nearly 20-year Third District Appellate Court Judge Mary Kay O'Brien is facing off against Republican Second Supreme Court District Justice Michael Burke.

Burke is currently the Second Supreme Court District Justice but was re-districted into the Third Supreme Court District for this election cycle.

DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, Lake and McHenry counties make up the second Supreme Court district. Bureau, DuPage, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, LaSalle and Will counites make up the third Supreme Court district. Democratic U.S. House Reps. Sean Casten, Bill Foster and Lauren Underwood currently represent parts of each of these districts.

Among Curran's many statements and actions was attending an anti-abortion rally at Federal Plaza in December 2021. He also circulated now-debunked claims about widespread voter fraud in multiple states during the 2020 presidential elections before later acknowledging that President Joe Biden won that election.

Curran also stated in a Facebook post on Dec. 12, 2020, that he agreed with now former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard regarding banning transgender women from Title IX sports. Also, in a Sept. 22, 2020, audio interview with Illinois Family Action he linked the "transgender movement" to pedophiles and said their goal was to be able to go into women's bathrooms and "rape little girls." In that same Illinois Family Action interview, Curran also stated that he opposes the LGBTQ Equality Act and transgender-inclusive military service.

In another Facebook post dated Oct. 10, 2021, Curran stated that aside from his wife, Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Miller is his second favorite woman. Curran posted that after Miller stated her opposition to transgender students accessing bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Curran responded to a question on Facebook about same-sex marriage on June 26, 2020, in a now-deleted post with this statement, "I was against gay marriage. Apparently, it is the law of the land. I am a daily communicant that believes religious liberty is a big deal." He also sent a 2013 letter to Republican state Rep. Ed Sullivan in 2013 where he said same-sex marriage was not in the best interests of children or society, would result in the loss of liberty for those opposed to same-sex marriage and suggested it would negatively impact public safety.

Additionally, on Curran's campaign website he emphasizes his Roman Catholic identity very prominently and uses the word faith multiple times to describe himself and his political philosophy.

Curran does not list any endorsements on his campaign website.

Burke has not stated his positions on the issues other than during a July 28, 2022, interview with Jeff Berkowitz he stated that he is an originalist when it comes to the Constitution. Additionally, Burke also said in that same Berkowitz interview that "there is no enumerated right to privacy in the U.S. or Illinois State Constitutions."

These statements happened after the June 24, 2022, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (Dobbs) U.S. Supreme Court 6-3 majority opinion that overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. The Dobbs decision left the right to abortion access to the states and since then several Republican-controlled states have enacted abortion bans.

Additionally, Burke has attended four Right to Life banquets since 2019 as a sitting Illinois Supreme Court Justice and is slated to attend another one on Friday, October 14.

Among Burke's endorsements are many suburban Republican state's attorney's, sheriff's and Illinois state House and Senate members.

The statewide LGBTQ+ non-profit Equality Illinois has taken the unprecedented step of endorsing Rochford and O'Brien to become Illinois' next Supreme Court Justices.

"Equality Illinois has not traditionally engaged in judicial races, but the alarm bells are ringing loudly for our democracy and our rights," said Equality Illinois Board Chair Justin DeJong in a statement to the media. "That is why we today are proud to endorse Judge Elizabeth Rochford and Judge Mary Kay O'Brien for Justices on the Illinois Supreme Court. We are confident Judge Rochford and Judge O'Brien will ensure every person receives equal protection and due process under the law and that they will also protect the tenets of democracy."

"For voters in the 2nd and 3rd Judicial Districts, we urge all who care about LGBTQ+ equality and justice to vote for Rochford and O'Brien," added Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson in a statement to the media. "Vote like your rights depend on this election. Because they do."

The Chicago abortion-rights group Personal PAC, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Illinois NOW, Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee, Illinois AFL-CIO and the Illinois Federation of Teachers have also endorsed Rochford and O'Brien. Additionally, both candidates are endorsed by numerous Democratic elected officials and other organizations.

"On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that anti-choice zealots have every right to ban abortion, under all circumstances, for all women, for all time," said Personal PAC President and CEO Terry Cosgrove in an email statement to Windy City Times. "Stopping women from accessing contraception and IVF, as well as preventing them from receiving life-saving medical care for miscarriage management, ectopic pregnancies and other medical emergencies, is now in full view at the top of their agenda. And that is exactly what these unbound extremists will do in Illinois unless you and I stop them on Nov. 8.

"These right-wingers are counting on you not believing it could happen here in Illinois. The Republican candidates running for two Illinois Supreme Court seats, Mark Curran and Michael Burke, are endorsed by the most extreme anti-choice statewide organizations, anti-choice donors and other right-wing elected officials precisely for all these reasons. If Burke and Curran win, the Illinois Supreme Court will be controlled by justices who mirror Trump's Supreme Court. Right-wing lawsuits have been filed to overturn the Illinois pro-choice laws we fought so hard to achieve over the past few years and are now awaiting a hearing."

"The Illinois NOW PAC has not endorsed judicial candidates for many election cycles as we do not have the capacity," Illinois NOW President Laura Welch emailed Windy City Times. "However, it is imperative that we endorse Judge Rochford in the Illinois 2nd Supreme Court district and Judge O'Brien in the 3rd this year. We must elect pro-choice Supreme Court Justices so that our rights for self-determination remain intact.

"Judge Rochford, who is rated 'highly recommended' by the Illinois State Bar Association is the only candidate in the 2nd District who has any judicial experience. We know that Judge Rochford is a staunch champion for women's rights, gun safety and LGBTQIA rights. Her opponent, Mark Curran, not only has no judicial experience, and he is rated as 'not recommended' by the Illinois Bar Association. If having no judicial experience is not enough to disqualify him from the Illinois State Supreme Court, his openly anti-choice, anti-immigrant and Black Lives Matter is an 'evil entity' opinion should end the conversation.

"Judge O'Brien is a firm believer that women should make their own decisions regarding keeping a pregnancy or having an abortion, she will also ensure that the rights of LGBTQIA folks are upheld, that racial justice and equity will be ensured and that young victims of sexual assault will get the justice they need. In contrast, Justice Burke who currently serves on the Illinois Supreme Court, is openly anti-choice having been a member of the pro-birth Thomas Moore Society, a group that sued to invalidate Illinois' 2019 abortion rights laws.

"We know that the right to an abortion will affect every aspect of the life and future of pregnant people. The ability to continue an education, feed a family and have financial independence cannot be separated from this right. By retaining a pro-choice Illinois Supreme Court, we can ensure that everyone in our state will retain their ability to determine their own future."

When reached for comment, neither Curran nor Burke responded to queries about their previous statements and actions regarding LGBTQ+- and abortion-rights issues.

"In the coming years, the Illinois Supreme Court will rule on some of the most important issues facing our state, and that is why we need qualified, experienced justices serving on the highest bench," Rochford emailed Windy City Times. "I believe that my decade as a Lake County Judge and service in and around the courts have prepared me for this role, and I am proud that the Illinois State Bar Association agrees, rating me 'highly recommended.' We cannot let this position fall to my opponent, who has never been a judge, is rated 'not recommended,' and is an anti-choice and anti-same sex marriage extremist."

"My entire career has been rooted in public service," said O'Brien in an email statement to Windy City Times. "From running a small law practice, serving as a state Representative where I worked on laws to protect victims of domestic violence and expungement reform and serving as an Appellate Court Judge and hearing over 4,500 cases - I have seen every side of the law. My experience is unmatched. Voters know what's at stake in this election and they will get down to the bottom of the ballot to support two highly qualified women to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court."

This article shared 2334 times since Wed Oct 19, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Federal investigation initiated in Nex Benedict case
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has started an investigation into the Oklahoma school district where Nex Benedict, a transgender 16-year-old sophomore, went to school and was bullied before his death, The Advocate ...

Gay News

WORLD Canadian politics, Australian murders, Finnish study, 'Anatomy'
Canadian conservatives are divided over an anti-trans policy that Alberta Premier Danielle Smith handed down in her province, The Guardian reported. The policy includes a ban on hormonal treatment, puberty ...

Gay News

Ghana parliament passes harsh anti-LGBTQ+ bill
On Feb. 28, Ghana's parliament unanimously passed a controversial anti-LGBTQ+ bill that has been condemned globally. The so-called Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Act, which was introduced in the parliament in 2021, not only criminalizes ...

Gay News

Anti-LGBTQ+ Republican McConnell to step down from leading U.S. Senate
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) will step down from Senate leadership in November, having served in that capacity longer than any senator in history, The Advocate noted. McConnell has been a senator since 1985 and has ...

Gay News

APA adopts policy supporting transgender, gender diverse and non-binary individuals
From a press release: WASHINGTON—The American Psychological Association (APA) has adopted a landmark policy affirming evidence-based care for transgender, gender diverse and nonbinary children, adolescents and adults, noting that recent ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024 Mike Simmons discusses LGBTQ+ health disparities, child tax credit
State Senator Mike Simmons is running unopposed in the March 19 election. Simmons began representing the 7th District after the former state senator, Heather Steans, retired. He's lived in the area his entire life. ...

Gay News

Advocates call for increased HIV funding amid state's 'disappointing' pattern of flat funding
Governor JB Pritzker's proposed 2025 budget has no increase in HIV funding, continuing a years-long pattern of flat spending toward tackling the epidemic in Illinois. Pritzker outlined his $52.7 billion budget for the 2025 fiscal year ...

Gay News

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy attacked on social media, allegedly by backers of Burke
Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy—a supporter of Cook County state's attorney Democratic candidate Clayton Harris III—posted on social media that a backer of Eileen O'Neill Burke, who's running against Harris ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024 Raymond Lopez talks congressional run, Chuy Garcia, migrant crisis
Chicago Ald. Raymond Lopez has been a member of City Council since 2015, representing the 15th Ward and making history as one of the city's first LGBTQ+ Latine alderman. Now, he is setting his sights on ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024 Kelly Cassidy discusses reproductive health, LGBTQ+ rights ahead of March primary
By Kayleigh Padar State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, running unopposed in the March 19 primary election so as to continue representing the 14th District, was first elected in 2011. During her tenure in Springfield, she has ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024 Illinois' first openly gay congressman isn't done yet: A conversation with Eric Sorensen
A Rockford-born meteorologist, U.S. Rep. Eric Sorenson didn't plan on being a politician. But after seeing how his work in broadcasting impacted his viewers in both the Rockford and the Quad Cities areas, he wanted to ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kristen Stewart, Rock Hudson, Talia Keys, 'True Detective,' Marvel comic
At the Berlin Film Festival, Kristen Stewart defended her photo shoot for a Rolling Stone magazine cover that went viral and divided audiences on social-media platforms, per The Hollywood Reporter. "The existence of a female body ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Chuck Schumer, anti-marriage bill, drag event back on, military doctor
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support for the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA)—and, as a result, several LGBTQ+-advocacy organizations dropped their opposition to it, The Hill ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024: JUDICIAL 7th Sub-Circuit Candidate Deidre Baumann (Solganick Vacancy), why she's running, strategy
Baumann & Shuldiner civil litigation practice owner Deidre Baumann is running in the March 19 primary for Circuit Court Judge in the 7th Judicial Sub-Circuit against the current appointed 7th Sub-Circuit Judge Owens J. Shelby. Shelby's ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024 Eileen O'Neill Burke talks state's attorney run, judgeship, GOP ties
The Democratic primary in the race to succeed outgoing Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx involves two candidates with extensive backgrounds concerning law and government. Eileen O'Neill Burke is a lifelong Democrat and fourth-generation Chicag ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.