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State of Illinois

Judicial Selection in the States: Illinois

Overview

News

Georgia has one of the most complex trial court systems in the nation, with at least 6 distinct trial courts (Superior, Probate, State, Magistrate, Municipal,...

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A hearing was held earlier this week on a series of bills filed to address diversity in the Rhode Island judiciary. Video of the hearing...

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The ongoing efforts by members of the Rhode Island House to diversify the bench continues. HB 7908 as filed would require the state s Judicial...

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Courtesy of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of...

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The Illinois judiciary is composed of the supreme court, the appellate court, and the circuit court. Illinois judges are initially chosen in partisan elections. Judges run in uncontested, nonpartisan retention elections to serve additional terms. Judges of the supreme court and appellate court serve ten-year terms; circuit court judges serve six-year terms.

In 2004, Illinois saw the most expensive judicial election campaign in history, with the two candidates for a district-based seat on the supreme court raising $9.3 million--more than was raised in 18 of the 34 U.S. Senate races that year. Major contributors included trial lawyers, labor leaders, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Tort Reform Association. These groups had a vested interest in the outcome of this race. The judicial district represented by the seat includes Madison County, a jurisdiction that has become nationally known for large tort awards, and the justice who holds this seat has the authority to fill judicial vacancies that arise in the district's trial courts between elections.