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Karmeier wins in Illinois

As Walter posted last night (congrats on an outstanding liveblog!), the Illinois Supreme Court race in southern Illinois between Gordon Maag (D) and Lloyd Karmeier (R) was one of the most followed in the country. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch shows Karmeier with an apparently insurmountable lead, and other media outlets and the Illinois Civil Justice League, a strong Karmeier supporter, have declared him the winner.

As noted by the Post-Dispatch, the Maag-Karmeier race was the most expensive in judicial election history, nationally:

Karmeier, a Washington County circuit judge reported raising $4,291,863 and 5th District Judge Maag reported $3,482,141.

An additional $2 million poured into the two men�s campaigns from outside groups raising money on their own.

A money quote:

Maag�s financial backing came largely from Madison County trial lawyers, who defended the current court system, saying it provided speedy justice to thousands of plaintiffs from across the country.

Of course, while Madison County does provide "speedy" resolution to plaintiffs, "from around the country," to call the results there "justice" is a stretch. Those in tort reform circles are well aware that Madison County is the epitome of the "magnet court" phenomenon nationally, as we've documented in three separate Manhattan Institute studies (here, here, and here). The American Tort Reform Association calls the county the top "judicial hellhole" in the nation.

The Maag-Karmeier race represents a big push back from the business community; Karmeier's win is a big victory for tort reform forces.

P.S. According to the Madison Record, Maag is also losing the retention election by which he would have retained his current appellate judgeship if not elevated to the higher court. He "received 55 percent 'yes' votes. He needed 60 percent to keep his position."



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.