Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

James Shapiro: Judicial candidate on fairness, LGBT causes
ELECTIONS '12: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-03-14

This article shared 2393 times since Wed Mar 14, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


James Shapiro says he wants to be the gay candidate in his race. The only problem is that Shapiro is actually straight.

Shapiro is running for the 8th Judicial Subcircuit of the Cook County Circuit Court, a vacancy left by the first openly gay candidate to be elected in Illinois, Thomas Chiola.

NOTE: View downloadable election guide charts at the following link. This election chart was updated online on Tuesday March 13 with corrections and updates. www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/WCT_2012_primarychartsforweb.pdf .

Shapiro has been courting the LGBT community at events throughout the city, and he admits that sometimes his stated progressive views get him into hot water.

He graduated from Trinity College in 1981 and then attended law school at William and Mary. He was a former assistant U.S. attorney and a special assistant attorney general. The Illinois Supreme Court appointed him to the bench almost five years ago. Now, he's running in a tight race to remain a judge.

Shapiro sat down with Windy City Times to talk about why being a judge matters to him, why he sees LGBT equality as a simple matter of fairness and how he handles moments when the law conflicts with his personal beliefs.

Windy City Times: So James, you are a judge currently running to stay on the bench. Why do you want to stay on the bench?

James Shapiro: The only reason that I really wanted to do this job—and I'm dead serious about this; it's a little bit corny—was to be a good judge, meaning a fair judge, a judge just intelligent enough to be educable but not so intelligent as to lawyer the cases for the attorneys and to have a good judicial temperament.

WCT: How did you get into law?

James Shapiro: I was a philosophy major in college, actually a philosophy and history double major in college. There wasn't that much to do with philosophy and history other than go to law school. I thought that law school would be the closest thing to graduate school in philosophy, and to some extent, it was. In other respects, it was a lot more practical than philosophy.

WCT: You have been at a lot of LGBT events, but you don't identify as LGBT.

James Shapiro: I do not identify as LGBT, no. But I identify with the LGBT community. I know that the LGBT community is a disadvantaged community in terms of the law—in terms of not having equal rights as we all know, in terms of not having equal marriage, in terms of the employment non-discrimination act, which still remains pending in congress. In terms of fairness and my sense of fairness, I really don't think anyone should be discriminated against, especially on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. I can't hide my views on that because this is a matter of fairness and justice to me, and this is why I went into law to begin with.

WCT: Are you active in LGBT causes?

James Shapiro: I'm the first straight director of the Alliance of Illinois Judges. I'm really proud of that fact. Also, I'm on the board of PFLAG … not because either of my kids are gay to my knowledge, I don't know that yet, but because I'm sensitive to the issue of gay kids needing to be supported by their parents. I presented on civil unions last fall for PFLAG, and it was very well received. I do civil unions, and the price is right because sitting judges are not allowed to charge for weddings and civil unions. I've given up doing private straight weddings because it was becoming very time-consuming and onerous. Now, I only do private civil unions.

WCT: In what areas do you think the law discriminates against LGBT people?

James Shapiro: Obviously, equal marriage is the big issue of today, that LGBTQ folks don't have the opportunity for the tax benefits and other spousal benefits that straight couples do, even under civil unions.

WCT: Have you had a moment as a judge where you had to rule against your personal beliefs?

James Shapiro: Well, I can't think of a real example offhand, but I can think of examples where I may have felt sorry for the little guy, maybe a pro se plaintiff ( representing oneself, instead of using a lawyer ) in civil court or a pro se defendant in criminal court or traffic court, where the law required me to arrive at a different result than the one that I might have preferred if I were to follow my sympathies. But I follow the law. I'm sworn the follow the law, and I do.

WCT: What is the bottom line for you in this race? Why vote Shapiro?

James Shapiro: The bottom line is that I'm the most qualified candidate in my race. I have three times the judicial experience as my nearest rival. I have more legal experience and more varied legal experience than all of my opponents. I'm the only former assistant U.S. attorney in the race. I can and do sit in both civil and criminal cases. Personally, my views are pretty progressive … but I'm able to put those views aside on ruling on cases when the law is clear, in order to follow the law.

See www.judgeshapiro.org .


This article shared 2393 times since Wed Mar 14, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Bulls, Blackhawks lose; Lightfoot-Fire FC link 2022-12-01
- The Chicago Bulls (9-12) fell to the Phoenix Suns (15-6) 132-113 in Arizona on Nov. 30, dropping the Bulls to 12th in the Eastern Conference. Phoenix now leads the Western Conference. Devin Booker scored 51 for ...


Gay News

Landmark step toward equality: Senate passes bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act 2022-11-29
-- From press releases - WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — today celebrated the bipartisan passage of the Respect ...


Gay News

Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth submits 2000+ petition signatures to run for seat vacated by Harry Osterman 2022-11-24
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Early this morning, Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, candidate for 48th ward, submitted 2166 petition signatures — over four times as many as the 473 minimum required — in order to get on the ballot for ...


Gay News

Transgender Day of Resilience: Town Hall panelists tackle allyship, discrimination and immigration 2022-11-23
- Brave Space Alliance (BSA), Life Is Work (LIW) and Chicago Therapy Collective (CTC) hosted three free events across the city that they named—TDOR Weekend: A New Era, Together— to celebrate ...


Gay News

Gay candidates Lopez, Lawson file papers for 2023 aldermanic race 2022-11-21
- Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward), an openly gay City Council member who has been an ardent foe of Mayor Lightfoot, announced Nov. 21 that he was dropping his bid for Lightfoot's mayoral seat, and would instead ...


Gay News

Kris Mayes shatters lavender ceiling; first LGBTQ person elected Arizona Attorney General 2022-11-21
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Kris Mayes won the election for Arizona Attorney General. With this historic win, she is now the first out LGBTQ Attorney General in Arizona history. Mayor Annise Parker, ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois on the Club Q shooting 2022-11-20
-- From a press release - Statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, on the Club Q shooting: On a day already marked by sadness, the LGBTQ+ community woke up to the tragic news ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Respect for Marriage Act, lesbian judge, gay official resigns 2022-11-20
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said that debate on the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) is suspended and will continue on Nov. 28, when the Senate reconvenes after Thanksgiving, LGBTQ Nation reported. The RFMA ...


Gay News

WORLD Brazilian musician, top LGBTQ+ cruises, Elon Musk, anti-trans attack 2022-11-20
- Brazilian musician Pedro Sampaio revealed that he dates men and women, Out noted. Sampaio has 7 million monthly listeners on Spotify, more than 5 million followers on Instagram and several music videos with more than 50 ...


Gay News

Reports: Senate to vote on marriage equality law Nov. 16 2022-11-15
- The U.S. Senate will vote on a measure enshrining marriage equality into law Wednesday, according to reports. Supporters of the measure, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, which aims to protect against an eventual repeal ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Political results, communicable-disease law, Urvashi Vaid 2022-11-13
- Sharice Davids won the election for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District. In 2018, she made history when she became the first out LGBTQ+ person elected to Congress from Kansas and one of the first two Native American women ever ...


Gay News

REPORTS: Tunney will not run to be Chicago mayor 2022-11-11
- Outgoing Ald. Tom Tunney (44th ward) will not be among the challengers to incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the upcoming city election, according to multiple reports. Tunney's decision was first reported Nov. 10 in Chicago Tribune. ...


Gay News

Erick Russell shatters lavender ceiling; first Black LGBTQ person elected to statewide position in U.S. history 2022-11-09
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Erick Russell won the election for Connecticut state Treasurer. With this victory, he is now the first Black out LGBTQ person ever elected to statewide office in U.S. ...


Gay News

HISTORY MADE: Oregon's Tina Kotek one of first lesbian governors in U.S history 2022-11-09
-- From a press release - SALEM — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, hailed the victory of HRC-endorsed Tina Kotek in her bid to become the governo ...


Gay News

History made: More LGBTQ+ people elected to congress than ever before 2022-11-09
-- From an HRC press release - Washington, DC — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — hailed the victory of at least ...


 




Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

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 Transegender 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.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


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.