Theirs is often the final word when a legal issue is appealed.
Two former DuPage County colleagues are squaring off in the GOP primary for a 10-year seat on the Second District Appellate Court, based in Elgin, which encompasses 13 counties in northern Illinois, including DuPage, Kane, Kendall, McHenry and Lake.
Justice Ann Jorgensen was appointed to the court in July 2008 to complete a retiring colleague's term. The 54-year-old Wheaton woman faces a challenge from Kenneth Moy, 76, of Hinsdale, who served in DuPage County's 18th circuit with Jorgensen as an 11-year circuit judge before he retired in 2007.
Jorgensen has served as a judge for more than 20 years and ascended to become DuPage County's first female chief judge. The Illinois State Bar Association rated her "highly qualified." It did not bestow similar confidence in Moy, who had a controversial tenure on the bench with consistent low bar ratings. Moy, who in 1996 became Illinois' first Asian-American judge, did not receive the bar's recommendation.
Moy contends the ratings are more about popularity and politics than legal ability.
Because the Illinois Supreme Court typically hears an appeal in less than 5 percent of requests, appellate justices play a key role in the judicial process. The nine-member Second District court handles more than 1,500 pending criminal and civil cases annually, ranging from property disputes to divorce to murder.