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posted: 3/5/2012 6:00 AM

For Supreme Court: Mary Jane Theis

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Four candidates are running in the Democratic primary for Illinois Supreme Court justice.

While all are capable, the clear choice is Justice Mary Jane Theis, and we give her our endorsement. She is an exceptional jurist who was appointed in 2010 to complete the unexpired term of Supreme Court Justice Thomas Fitzgerald when he resigned because of health issues. Theis wins high marks from the various bar associations and is strongly regarded for her legal knowledge, temperament, integrity and leadership in the legal community. She began her legal career as an assistant public defender in Cook County, became a judge in 1983 and then an appellate court justice in 1994.

Her opponents in the race also are impressive, particularly Joy V. Cunningham, the presiding justice of the appellate court's Second Division. While she has served behind the bench for less time than Theis, Cunningham actually boasts a more varied background. Also more than capable is Aurelia Marie Pucinski, who has a long career in public service and became an appellate court justice in 2010. The resume of the fourth candidate, Thomas W. Flannigan, who has no judicial experience, is not competitive with the other candidates.

Judge James G. Riley is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

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