Elizabeth Kaveny Named to Judicial Screening Committee

Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis announced on Friday, February 15, 2013, the formation of a bipartisan screening committee to assist her in selecting Circuit Court judges for appointment to fill interim vacancies on the Cook County Circuit Court.

The screening committee will be made up of 13 lawyers and one non-lawyer and will be co-chaired by retired U.S. District Court Judge Wayne R. Andersen and retired Illinois Appellate Court Judge Michael J. Gallagher. Elizabeth A. Kaveny, name partner in noted Chicago plaintiffs' law firm Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny (BWMK), was among the lawyers named to the committee.

Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court has the authority to fill judicial vacancies by interim appointment until they are filled for the full term by voters' choice in the next election. Traditionally, the three justices from the First Judicial District in Cook County rotate in recommending a candidate to the Court for the appointment. The committee is expected to screen applicants for judgeships after the candidates have been evaluated by bar associations. The committee then will forward recommendations to Justice Theis.

"The committee is composed of top-notch people—diverse and highly qualified," said Justice Theis. "I thank them in advance for their willingness to serve and help me discharge a very important, constitutional duty. I am sure their dedication and insight will be invaluable to me." How the committee proceeds will be left up to its own organization, said Justice Theis.

Judge Andersen, who serves as co-chair, also is a member of a statewide judicial review commission to aid U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) in working with senior Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin forwarding names to the President for nomination to the U.S. District Court.

"Among the criteria the Committee will look at in candidates are legal experience, integrity, professional competence, judicial temperament and a commitment to justice," said Judge Andersen. "In short, the committee will be looking for judicial candidates with smart minds, good hearts and a life experience that shows empathy for everybody in our community."

Judge Gallagher said, "This is a panel composed of persons with diverse experience and outstanding talent. I look forward to working with Judge Andersen and all of the committee members in helping Justice Theis nominate strong candidates for the bench."