Monday 17 April 2023

Illinois Supreme Court Denies Motion for Recusal in Gun Ban Challenge for Judges Who Received $1M Each From Anti-Gun IL Gov. Pritzker

 Illinois judges Elizabeth Rochford and Mary O’Brien were elected to he Illinois Supreme Court in November 2022. Each of them received $1 million in campaign donations from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

 Pritzker’s remarks in 2022, “I will stand firm with Illinoisans and Americans: we must – and we will – end this plague of gun violence.”

The Illinois Supreme Court has denied a motion to disqualify Rochford and O’Brien from hearing a challenge to a new Illinois gun ban over allegations of conflicts of interest and both judges have refused to recuse themselves.

The Center Square reports: 

The Illinois Supreme Court has denied a motion to disqualify two justices from hearing a challenge to the state’s new gun ban over perceived conflicts of interest. The two justices also declined to recuse themselves.

Before Elizabeth Rochford and Mary O’Brien were elected to the Illinois Supreme Court in November 2022, Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave each of their campaign funds half a million dollars from both his campaign account and a revocable trust, totaling $1 million to each. The two justices also received six-figure donations out of a campaign fund controlled by Illinois House Speaker Emanual “Chris” Welch,” D-Hillside.

Both Pritzker and Welch are top defendants in a Macon County challenge of Illinois’ gun and magazine ban brought by state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur. The county judge there issued a final judgment that the law is unconstitutional. The state appealed the case directly to the Illinois Supreme Court after a separate case was found by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to have a likelihood of success on the basis the law violates equal protections.

Late last month, Caulkins’ attorney filed a motion for the two justices to recuse themselves, or for the Illinois Supreme Court to disqualify them from hearing the challenge. Attorney Jerry Stocks argued “unreasonably large campaign contributions” from Pritzker and Welch “undermine public confidence” in the judiciary. 

Asked in early March if the justices should recuse themselves because of the donations, Pritzker said that’s “ridiculous.”

“And these are independent judges and they didn’t go around and campaign on things that they thought would win my support for them,” Pritzker said when asked by The Center Square.

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