Judicial candidate’s ad shows rival fade away
Epstein fears voters may mistake foe Jim Ryan for gov hopeful
Judge Jim Epstein takes an unusual step in his race for Illinois Appellate Court Tuesday. He runs a television ad with a photo of one of his opponents. That photo of Judge Jim Ryan fades away as Epstein clarifies that he’s “a little different” from the other candidates in his race.
Epstein is highly rated by the bar groups and is a former president of the Illinois Judges Association. Judge Kathleen Kennedy, another candidate in the race, also got high ratings. Their three opponents did not.
Epstein said he doesn’t want voters to confuse his opponent Ryan, 43, former general counsel to Sheriff Michael Sheahan, with Jim Ryan, 63, the former attorney general running for governor in the Republican primary.
“In judicial races, people go in without a clear idea of who’s running, and they see a familiar name — that name may get
SunTimes endorsements, bar group ratings. | P. 20, 21 a vote whether it’s attached to the person they think it is or not,” Epstein said.
Sadly, in judicial races, voters tend to go for women with Irish names, whether or not they are qualified, so Kennedy’s name may help her more than her impressive resume. Voters have elected unqualified people with other ethnicities who changed their names to Irish ones to run for judge. They have also elected men who used femininesounding names.
Judge Ryan’s name may help him overcome the fact that he got a good rating from only one of the 11 bar groups. Some of the others said he had “temperament” issues.
But to his credit, Ryan at least submitted his credentials to the bar groups for evaluation. Some of the candidates slated by the Democratic Party for judge- ships expect to be handed the $170,000-a-year gig with lifeor-death power over defendants without having to be bothered submitting their credentials and answering pesky questions about mistakes they have made in court.
Pamela Hill Veal got the party’s blessing in her bid to move up to Appellate Court from Circuit Court, even though the very Appellate Court she seeks to join lambasted her in an opinion for inexcusably jailing a lawyer for contempt of court.
Veal did not bother to submit her credentials for review or to return a phone call for this story.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said she hopes voters would educate themselves about the judicial candidates’ qualifications before voting.
“Someday you may be in a civil court — maybe you will be in a car accident — so you have a stake in this. It’s important that you do make the right decision,” Alvarez said.