The Illinois Civil Justice League initiated its first judicial candidates' website seven election cycles ago - during the 2000 judicial campaign - and has repeated and expanded the site in each election cycle since.  The name has changed permanently to IllinoisJudges.net, which we hope will stay for years to come.

Our purpose is to help Illinois voters learn about judges and candidates for judicial offices. Do the voters want and need that information? We think so.  In 2002, more than 60,000 visits were recorded during the five days before Election Day.  Since then, our site and outreach has grown exponentially.

The judges we elect in Illinois -- and we elect more judges than members of the executive and legislative branches of government combined -- have longer terms and more power than all the other offices. They can nullify what the other branches have done.

The Illinois Civil Justice League does not attempt to conceal its agenda. The ICJL is a coalition of interests in Illinois, including taxpayers, consumers, small businesses, lawyers, doctors, local governments, big businesses, not-for-profit organizations and individual citizens. They have joined together to fight what we -- and they --  believe are abuses in our civil justice system.

We think there are too many lawsuits and we think the litigation explosion is costly to all Illinois citizens. We do not want to limit the rights of any potential victim of wrong-doing (all of us fall in that category) but we don't think the system is intended to make anyone rich.

So while we are not hiding from our philosophy, we believe Illinois voters should learn as much as possible about judges and judicial candidates and thus we include as much information about ALL candidates for the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts as is possible, and as much information about candidates for circuit court seats as is reasonably possible.

The candidates for the Supreme and Appellate Courts in 2002 were asked questions and their responses, if they agreed to participate, were included verbatim. The same was true in 2004 and both candidates for the Supreme Court in the Fifth District -- yes, that included Democratic candidate Gordon Maag -- who DID cooperate and we DID include his statements unedited (except for some typos which he agreed to allow us to correct).

In elections from 2006 to 2012, some candidates -- of both political parties -- refused to participate. Their refusal was stated and, if appropriate, explained.  However, many judges of both parties have helped educate the public by filling out our candidate questionnaire and providing voters the opportunity to educate themselves before filling out their ballots for these often obscure and unknown races.

The ICJL's endorsements, made through our Political Action Committee, were included, but we also included the endorsements of newspapers, the ratings of bar associations and other groups. We include other evaluations, even if they did not agree with our position. We also include links to the websites of all candidates, if they provided us with links, so that voters could form their own opinions.

We've continued this project for the 2006 and 2008 and 2010 and 2012 election cycles and are now knocking at the door of the 2014 judicial election cycle.

Our plans remain the same.  We will be contacting all sitting judges who are eligible for retention and we will be contacting all candidates who file nominating petitions for judicial offices.  We will invite them to participate.  If they fail to respond, we will invite them a second time.  If they refuse to respond, we will clearly note that fact for you to see.

This site will expand as we progress through the election cycle.  It WILL be the most comprehensive source of information about judges and judicial candidates in Illinois in 2014.

Copyright 2014 - A project of the Illinois Civil Justice League