As a baby teacher at Bishop McNamara High School ( 1975), I had the pleasure of Tom Kilbride's company for the summer months in my apartment on the Kankakee River - the old River's Edge Apartments - way over priced, but it had a pool and was walking distabce to Bishop McNamara.
Tom was working as a N/S community and labor organizer and going to Grad School at St. Mary's in Winona, MN - and in between gigs. Tom's younger brother Joe had just graduated from Mac and was on his way to St. Procopius ( Illinois Benedictine) in Lisle and Jim Frogge, Bishop Mac's brilliant Physics and Chemistry Teacher as well as Defensive Co-ordinator for the Fighting Irish asked me to help Tom out and let the man crash. He did.
Tom had been a pretty good athlete at Mac, not nearly as good as Joe and was an outstanding student. Tom is a great guy.
I hope that my night terrors and catatonic screaming did not overly disturb his slumbers. He will be a wide-awake replacement for the wonderful Leo Man Tom Fitzgerald as Chief Justice of Illinois Supreme Court.
Kilbride Tapped for Chief Justice
September 16, 2010
By Scott Reeder Illinois Statehouse News
SPRINGFIELD — Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride has been selected by his colleagues to be chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois Statehouse News has learned.
The order will come down today naming the 10-year veteran of the high court to be its leader for a three-year term beginning Oct. 26, a source familiar with the situation said late Wednesday.
But whether his time as chief justice will be for the full three years or just a few weeks will be determined by the voters Nov. 2.
Every 10 years, Illinois Supreme Court justices must stand for retention. At least 60 percent of voters must vote for retaining the judge in order for the person to remain in office.
Ordinarily these elections are uneventful affairs, but this year Kilbride is being targeted for removal from the court by groups unhappy with how the court has ruled.
That strategy is part of a growing national trend in which groups representing doctors, hospitals, manufacturers and other businesses that are often sued work to reshape the judiciary.
Ed Murnane, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League, said his group is targeting Kilbride because it is unhappy with a number of votes he cast concerning business. Much of the Civil Justice League’s funding comes from business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald announced Monday that he will be retiring from the Supreme Court Oct. 25 because he has Parkinson’s Disease. Chief justices are selected by their colleagues to serve three year terms and traditionally it is rotated between Cook County justices and those from other parts of the state.
Kilbride was expected to be next in line in the rotation.
“It was his turn,” Murnane said. “I think the timing of Justice Fitzgerald’s retirement is interesting. He is retiring a week before the election and this should give Kilbride a nice PR boost right before the election.”
But Mike Lawrence, past director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, said he doubts it will have much impact.
“I don’t think it will make much of a difference. Ultimately voters are going to make a decision based on Justice Kilbride’s qualifications and how well the judge has comported himself. Whether or not he is chief justice shouldn’t make a difference,” he said.