I’m not sure we’re actually quite to the seventy-third installment in this ongoing series, but considering the consistent antics at that Route 38 and Peck Road location, it certainly feels like we are.
But I digress!
In a somewhat gratifying turn of events, there is just one major nominating petition challenge in all of the county we call Kane. It’s actually somewhat reassuring to see both our experienced and aspiring candidates get their paperwork right!
The single hitch in our countywide petition giddyup is Judge Elizabeth Flood’s failure to file a separate Economic Interest Statement as a candidate for the full circuit seat soon-to-be vacated by Judge David Akemann.
Thus, Judge Flood’s March 20 ballot fate hinges upon whether the EIS she filed as a sitting associate judge will serve that nominating paperwork purpose. To wit, I spoke with an expert at the Illinois State Board of Elections, who firmly believes Flood will prevail.
But then a crack local election attorney explained that, on her most current 16th Circuit Economic Interest Statement, Ms. Flood listed her position as “Administrative Office of Illinois Courts,” which doesn’t exactly shout she’s running for judge. Depending upon how far the objector is willing to take it, that wording could turn out to be a real problem.
Trust me, the irony of a sitting judge gettin’ thrown off the ballot on technicality isn’t lost on me. Considering The First Ward’s previous stipulation to Ms. Flood’s vast competence, it makes the failure to file a candidate EIS even more baffling. C’mon! All we’re talking about is a scant 10 minutes of your time.
But let’s put it into reverse and start at the beginning!
As should always be the case, the challenge was issued by an “uninterested” third party, Hampshire attorney Laura Pollastrini, in an effort to keep it from getting back to the folks who are actually behind it. But as is also almost always the case, it didn’t take much effort to trace it right back to Judge David Kliment’s campaign.
Kliment is part of the GOP judicial primary trio with Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell rounding out that field.
Word is, the often-imperious Kliment is incensed that Flood had the temerity to step to the front of the line for a judgeship he clearly perceives to be his. The “it’s-my-turn” political phenomenon, and the feuds it precipitates, is always a fascinating proposition. Put more simply, I’d love to be a fly on the wall at that 2018 16th Circuit Christmas party.
And when I say “imperious,” I mean we’ll soon discuss how, as head of the unit, Kliment put his wife on the Public Defender payroll while she “worked” from home, sent scathing letters to the county board, and there’s another fascinating facet of the Judge’s sanctimonious character I’m going to give him a chance to address.
But as is often the case in this overly-complicated existence, just because you can do so something doesn’t mean that you should. And Kliment’s challenge is right at the top of that list.
His first problem is, who the bleep is gonna hear the objection?
The Kane County Election Board typically consists of Hartwell, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, and whomever County Clerk Jack Cunningham appoints to serve on behalf of his office. Since Hartwell is running for the same seat, he and his entire staff are out. That means they might have to bring in an outside attorney who clearly won’t risk disappointing Ms. Flood.
McMahon doesn’t have the cojones to throw a sitting judge off the ballot, and Cunningham’s minion will likely go along with whatever the State’s Attorney says, so Kliment has absolutely no shot at winning at the county level.
That means the case would head to a 16th Circuit courtroom. But that isn’t going to happen when you two of their own judges are involved.
That means the appeal would likely land in DeKalb or DuPage County where none of those judges have the audacity to throw a sitting judge off the ballot on a technicality. That just ain’t how the men and women in black roll!
The last resort, if the Kliment camp is good for the 10 grand it will require, is to take the challenge to the Second District Court of Appeals. And Flood might be in trouble there because those judges have a well-earned reputation as a take-no-prisoners, letter-of-the-law kinda bunch.
And wouldn’t that 10 large be much better spent on his electoral bid?
Even if Kliment manages to finally boot Flood, he’s still gotta get past veteran office-holder Tom Hartwell, and he’s shown absolutely no capacity to effectively run a campaign. In fact, he’s demonstrating just the opposite. (For purposes of full disclosure, since I refuse to work for a campaign that’s in utter disarray, I’m no longer helping Mr. Hartwell.)
So, what was Kliment thinking when he had Pollastrini file this challenge? He wasn’t thinking! No good can possibly come of this blatantly naïve and poorly conceived political move. All it will do is sow further dissent in those already fractured 16th Circuit ranks.
But that’s never bothered Kliment before.
The bottom line is, if you harbored any doubt as to my contention that David Kliment is not the kind of judge to light your skirt on fire, here’s all the proof you need. And if he can’t handle something this basic…