Judicial Retention in Illinois

This November, many judges across Illinois will find their names on election ballots.  Voters will decide if the judges get to keep their jobs.  Once elected, an Illinois judge never has to run against an opponent again — at the end of a term, the judge merely needs to convince enough voters to let the judge keep his or her job for another term.

What is the authority for this?  It is the Illinois Constitution.

Article VI, Section 12, Subsection (d) states, in part, as follows:

The names of Judges seeking retention shall be submitted to the electors, separately and without party designation, on the sole question whether each Judge shall be retained in office for another term. The retention elections shall be conducted at general elections in the appropriate Judicial District, for Supreme and Appellate Judges, and in the circuit for Circuit Judges. The affirmative vote of three-fifths of the electors voting on the question shall elect the Judge to the office for a term commencing on the first Monday in December following his election.

How long are the terms for judges? Article VI, Section 10 says terms are ten years for all appellate court judges (including judges on the Illinois Supreme Court) and six years for circuit judges.  Circuit judges are the trial judges in local courthouses.

Now that you know that judges will appear on your election ballot, you will undoubtedly want to make an informed vote.  The Illinois State Bar Association has published judicial evaluations on its website to help you do this.  Click here to view the evaluations.

Jeremy Richey

Jeremy J. Richey, Attorney at Law
© Jeremy J. Richey and The East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog, 2008-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.