By Travis Akin, Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch -
The lawsuit industry has gone all in for a local judicial campaign.
Illinois State Board of Elections records indicate that personal injury lawyer Judy Cates has reportedly received nearly $98,000 in individual contributions since the beginning of September. These contributions are on top of the $67,875 her campaign committee received from April 1 to June 30.
About half of Cates’s contributions have come from one law firm and the vast majority of her total funding has come from personal injury law firms. She even has received a large donation from a law firm from California!
Big money judicial elections are nothing new in Southern Illinois, which is home to the most expensive judicial election in the nation in 2004.
The amount of money coming into this race isn’t the story.
It is where the money is coming that is the story. Clearly, the lawsuit industry is fighting tooth and nail to keep the status quo alive and well in the Metro East.
Law firms have every right to contribute to any judicial campaign they please but voters also have a right to know who is making these contributions and which candidates are receiving the contributions.
Personal injury law firms in Chicago, California and the Metro East have a vested interest in what happens in our Metro-East counties because they flock to these counties to file their junk lawsuits. Madison and St. Clair Counties are collectively ranked the fifth-worst “Judicial Hellholes” in the country and having a fellow personal injury lawyer sitting on the 5th District Appellate Court would help preserve the status quo.
Judicial elections are important and voters need to take these elections seriously. They need to educate themselves about the candidates on the ballot and make sure they are making informed decisions and ask some basic questions.
Which judicial candidate is committed to reforming Illinois courts? Which candidate is the most likely to stand with personal injury who want to keep the status quo? Which candidate is the most likely to restore balance and common sense to our courts?
There is more at stake in this election than who occupies the White House. The down ballot judicial elections are vitally important as well.
Are we satisfied with Madison and St. Clair Counties being ranked some of the worst “Judicial Hellholes” in the country or do we want to see a change?
The lawsuit industry will continue to pour money into this but ultimately we as citizens have the final word in the matter. It is time we all stood together for reform and let our voices be heard.