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Press Release

Illinois Supreme Court Showdown


What is at Stake in the 2004 Illinois 5th District Supreme Court race?

The Illinois legal system.

The Chicago Tribune has twice called Madison County a “jurisdiction jackpot,” pointing to massive awards and judges’ willingness to take on cases from out of county and state. Judges often hand down rulings that regulate entire industries nationwide. For instance, in 2002 a judge handed down a $350 million decision against AT&T and Lucent. While multiple lawyers from multiple firms split $84 million, customers for whom the case was brought took an average loss of $6.49.

Asbestos cases also find their way into Madison County. With a population of 259,000, the county hosts more mesothelioma cases than New York City (population 8,000,000). Last year, a single plaintiff received $250 million in an asbestos related case. With other asbestos, telecommunications, workers’ compensation, and tobacco-related cases running rampant, this election could help determine the 5th District’s, and indeed all of Illinois, judicial future.

With Democrats currently holding a 5-2 majority on the state Supreme Court, this election has far reaching implications. Supreme Court Justices make recommendations to fill vacancies in circuit courts, and generally recommend judges from their own party. Karmeier would reduce the Democrats’ majority to 4-3.

A small group of private law firms donated a total of $500,000, some in lump sums of $100,000, to the state Democratic Party, and with little competition in the presidential and Senate races, most of this money likely will be seen supporting Magg. Why is this happening? Probably because the Madison County court, in which he currently serves, is known as fertile ground for class action, malpractice, and workers’ comp cases.

Something to consider before casting your vote on November 2nd. Download a voter guide here (.pdf)

Lloyd A. Karmeier

Current Position:
Resident Circuit Judge, Washington County

Private practice 4 years, State’s Attorney of Washington County 4 years, Circuit Judge 18 years, Admitted to Practice in Illinois and U.S. Supreme Courts

Law degree from University of Illinois, 1964; B.S. from University of Illinois, 1962

Among Campaign Contributors:
Illinois State Medical Society
Victims and Families United
Continental Casualty Co.


Gordon Magg

Current Position:
Illinois Appellate Court Justice

Private practice 10 years, Trial Judge 3 years, Appellate Court Justice, 12 years

Western Military Academy, 1969; B.A. from St. Louis University, 1969; J.D. from University of Mississippi Law School, 1979; L.L.M. from University of Virginia Law School

Among Campaign Contributors:
Simmons Cooper
Clifford Law Offices
Randall A. Bono
Various trial lawyers/firms