Margaret Stanton McBride: Candidate profile

  • Margaret Stanton McBride

    Margaret Stanton McBride

 
Posted3/3/2020 1:00 AM

Bio

Party: Democratic

 

City: Glenview

Office sought: Illinois Supreme Court

Age: 68

Family: Married with two adult children

Occupation: Appellate Court Judge

Education: J.D. DePaul University College of Law, 1976; B.A. Newton College, 1973

Civic involvement: Member -- DePaul Law School Dean's Advisory Council; Chair and member -- DePaul Law School Alumni Judges' Committee; previous Board Member -- St. Viator High School; Illinois Courts Commission Member since 2007. Volunteer teacher for law related educational programs for grammar school students.

Elected offices held: Circuit Court Judge, Current position -- Appellate Court Judge, retained once for the Circuit Court and twice for the Appellate Court

Incumbent? If yes, when were first elected: Not an incumbent

Website: mcbrideforsupremecourt.com

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Twitter: no twitter account

Facebook: JusticeMargaretMcBride2020

Questions and Answers

1. Why are you running for the Illinois Supreme Court? What skills, qualities or experiences set you apart from your opponents?

I'm running because I believe my qualification and experience as an Appellate, Circuit Court, Associate Judge, and an attorney are unmatched and set me apart from all of my opponents. I have been found highly qualified for the Supreme Court vacancy and have consistently received the highest bar association ratings for over 30 years. Bar associations and newspapers have praised my integrity, independence, legal knowledge and ability, judicial demeanor, work ethic, and most importantly, my fairness and impartiality.

I have tried more cases as a lawyer, presided over more complex cases as a judge, both civil and criminal, served in more divisions, and have written more decisions than any other candidate. All my decisions have been fair, and impartial.

My administrative experience is also unmatched. I supervised numerous attorneys in the State's Attorney's Office and 19 judges as Presiding Judge of the 3rd Municipal District. I was Chair of Cook County's Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. I have held every leadership position within the Appellate Court.

For over 35 years, I have taught trial advocacy and professionalism to law students, lawyers, and judges. I serve on several Supreme Court Committees, including the Appellate Court Committee on Access to Justice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

2. Please identify potential conflicts of interest that might arise if you are elected to the Illinois Supreme Court, including family members, former law partners, clients or companies or government agencies for which you have worked. How would you address such a conflict?

The Code of Judicial Conduct, specifically, Rule 63(C), governs conflicts with family members, former law partners, clients, companies or governmental agencies for which a candidate has worked. Judges must always recuse themselves when there is an actual conflict of interest, and, in my opinion, when there may be the appearance of a conflict. I have and will always follow the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Additionally, under the Code of Conduct, specifically, Rule 67(B)(2), a candidate shall not personally solicit or accept campaign contributions, but may establish a committee to raise money, including from lawyers. In this particular race, two candidates have already personally self-funded their campaigns, one in the amount of almost $2,000,000. Other candidates are then forced to fund their campaigns through monetary campaign contributions, which often come from attorneys who may appear in court before that candidate/judge.

If and when those kinds of conflicts (or the appearance of conflicts) arise, I will always recuse myself as required by the Code of Judicial Conduct.

3. If you are or have been a judge, have you ever recused yourself from a case? If so, was it in response to a motion or suggestion by a party to the case? In what circumstances should a Supreme Court justice recuse himself or herself?

I have recused myself in cases throughout my many years on the bench. Sometimes, it was in response to a motion by a party to the case, sometimes on my own initiation. My answer to question 2 above applies here as to the circumstances under which a Supreme Court Justice should recuse himself or herself because the Code of Judicial Conduct is applicable to all judges.

4. How important is racial and gender diversity on the Illinois Supreme Court and across the judiciary? How would it guide your actions when making appointments to the bench? Please explain your answer.

Racial and gender diversity is vital on the Supreme Court and across the judiciary. Diversity of judges in our court system is important to provide broader perspectives to the real-world issues facing judges every day. Diverse perspectives and life experiences on the bench are critical to the fair, equal, impartial, and independent administration of justice. Women, people of color, different ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ persons can bring unique perspectives to issues faced by judges everyday across the country. Judges should also represent the different communities in which they live to ensure confidence that justice is being administered fairly to all persons.

If elected to the Supreme Court, I would institute an appointment process that is open and transparent. I would make certain that qualifications and diversity are predominant. Like many other members of the Supreme Court, I would form a committee to screen candidates, in an open process, for court vacancies. The various bar associations and members of the community would provide input into that process. All Supreme Court Justices should appoint persons from all racial and ethnic groups, national origins, men and women, and LGBTQ persons.

5. What measures do you support for enabling the public to monitor court activities in Illinois? Should courts in Illinois be required to allow electronic recording by news media?

I support measures that enable the public to monitor court activities. The more open and accessible court proceedings are, the more the public can understand how our system of justice works. Understanding how our system works leads to respect, and respect for the court system and the rule of law is needed more now than ever before.

Currently, Illinois Supreme Rule 63(A)(8) allows photography, broadcasting and television coverage of court proceedings only by order of the Supreme Court. Under this program, all circuit courts may apply and request the use of media coverage of court proceedings. Once an application has been approved, the media, through a designated media coordinator, may request coverage of a particular case. The Judge presiding over a case and Chief Judge have the authority, however, to disallow coverage. Coverage is not allowed in sexual abuse cases unless the victim consents and coverage is not allowed in any juvenile, divorce, adoption, child custody, evidence suppression, trade secrets or other legally private case. Coverage is not allowed for jury selection, a jury or individual jurors. What began as a pilot program is now permanent and like all programs, it can and should be re-evaluated to improve the process currently in place.

6. Do you support public financing of campaigns for Illinois Supreme Court? Do you support political party slating for candidates for Illinois Supreme Court?

Pursuant to Rule 67, judges cannot address legal issues that may come before them. However, I can make observations on different financing approaches. As to public financing, the short answer is that big money has the potential to taint politics and government, while purely public and equal financing would level the playing field for everyone, and encourage representation of all racial and ethnic minorities, women and LGBTQ persons.

However, as a result of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, most public financing programs allow candidates for elective office to opt out of the program and spend without limitations. That's not beneficial to candidates with less means, nor to the public. Candidates running for office who have unlimited personal funds or access to large donors, are allowed to opt out of any public financing program and spend far in excess of public financing limits. The opt-out clause increases the divide between political elites and ordinary citizens; it takes money away from education, hospitals, and public works; taxpayers are forced to support candidates whose views they do not share.

Regarding slating, the Constitution gives any political organization the right to endorse in our democracy. However, political affiliation should not be the determining factor. Voters should make informed decisions about the candidates and elect the most qualified persons. Judicial elections are unique. Judges cannot take positions on issues that may come before them; they only have bar associations and newspaper endorsements to inform the public of their qualifications. I have had the highest bar ratings of all the candidates in my previous races. I also had newspaper endorsements, and was elected both times. Based on my qualifications and evaluations, I believe I am the most qualified candidate now, and humbly seek your endorsement.

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