Judge Deborah Jean Gubin is running to keep her seat in the 8th Judicial Subcircuit, compoed of parts of Uptown, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, the Loop and the Near South Side. Appointed to the Durkin-Roy vacancy in 2010, Gubin hopes with the March 20 primary.
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 .
Windy City Times: What made you want to go to law school?
Deborah Jean Gubin: I graduated college in 1970. Then women married lawyers, they didn't become lawyers. So, I was sort of told, "Oh, get the teaching certificate, just in case." And I used that to pay for law school. I've always wanted to be a lawyer, since I was a sophomore in college.
WCT: How did you become a judge?
Deborah Jean Gubin: I've been trying to be a judge for quite a few years. I've been practicing law since 1979, and I've done a mix of both civil and criminal law. I've worked for the state and the county, as well as private practice, so I have a wide range of experience.
In the fall of 2009, I heard Judge Maureen Durkin-Roy retired and I was being considered for an appointment [ to her vacancy ] . I met with Justice Anne Burke, and she interviewed me. Her committee approved me, and she nominated me for the appointment. … The Supreme Court approved me, and I was sworn in March 4, 2010.
WCT: What kind of court do you oversee?
Deborah Jean Gubin: Currently I'm in the 1st Municipal, and I serve predominately in the traffic division, where they start a lot of judges out. On a daily basis, I'm in a different courtroom. Some days I will hear minor cases, like running red lights or speeding; other days I'm in a major room, and those are class A misdemeanors. In those cases, if convicted, people could be sentenced to one to 364 days in the Cook County Department of Corrections. And sometimes I'm also in the 1st Municipal hearing other kinds of cases. I have been assigned to the pro se court and small contract cases, as well.
WCT: What have you done outside the courtroom?
Deborah Jean Gubin: I've been teaching trial advocacy for over 30 years at both Loyola and John Marshall law schools. I have been published by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education. I've been very active in the Chicago Bar Association, the Women's Bar Association and the Decalogue Society of Lawyers. I have also done community volunteer work with the Women's Business Development Center.
Until I became a judge, because I thought it was a conflict of interest, I was an educational surrogate parent. I'm a former teacherthat's how I paid for law school, I taught during the day and went to law school at night. Individuals who are wards of the state, if they have learning disabilities and they are in a foster home or group home, they needed an advocate, taking the role a parent normally would, to make sure they received the services they were supposed to get in the school system. And that's what I would do. I would work with the Illinois Board of Education to make sure students, if they have a learning disability, that they're put in the proper type of program and the proper school.
WCT: What do you hope to accomplish in office?
Deborah Jean Gubin: I really would like everybody to feel that when they walk into a courtroom, that they have been listened to, that they have been treated respectfully and that they have been treated fairly. They can be treated respectfully and not treated fairly; I want to make sure people have both.
WCT: Who has endorsed you?
Deborah Jean Gubin: I've been endorsed by the Democratic Party of the 8th Subcircuit, the Indo-American Democratic Organization, the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Chicago Firefighters Union. I've also been endorsed by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Dawn Clark Netsch, Congressman Mike Quigley, state Senate President John Cullerton, Ald. Tom Tunney, Ald. Brendan Reilly, Ald. Bob Fioretti and Commissioner Larry Suffredin. That's just to name a few.
WCT: Are you running opposed? Why should constituents vote for you?
Deborah Jean Gubin: I have two other opponents. I have a much better bar rating than the other people in my race. I have a broader range of experience than the other individuals in my race. The Chicago Council of Lawyers said about me, I'll read it to you, "As a judge, she is praised for her ability to handle a high volume court call. Those lawyers appearing before her praise her for her courtroom demeanor, for being especially hardworking and for the quality of her opinions." I mean, that's what my peers think of me, and that's the type of work I want to continue doing.
WCT: Do you perform civil unions? What are your thoughts on civil unions in Illinois?
Deborah Jean Gubin: I do perform civil unions. In fact, when the law was first enacted and judges were given the script to perform the ceremonies, I thought it was sparse and took the script used for marriages and adapted that for civil unions, so what I used would be more meaningful. I am proud to say that many of the other judges have started following my lead.
The civil-union ceremonies I have performed have been very interesting. Many of the couples have been together for years, and this means so much to them. It is very moving. I am honored to be part of the ceremony. If you question is, do I favor civil unions, the short answer is yes. Our legislature appears to be moving toward full rights for everyone, which is good.
WCT: A Texas judge is refusing to perform marriage ceremonies until everyone can legally marry in her state. What are your thoughts on that?
Deborah Jean Gubin: I saw the article about the Texas judge, and I admire her moxie. I have taken an oath to uphold the laws of the state of Illinois, which does allow marriage and civil unions. Performing marriages is part of my duties in the First Municipal Division, so I am in a different position. Fortunately, Illinois is not Texas on a number of issues.
To learn more about Gubin, visit www.electjudgegubin.com .