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Kilbride was here, and has a record

Madison County Record

Friday, July 31, 2020  |  Editorial  |  By The Madison County Record

Candidates--Judicial (27b)

Ten years ago, the Chicago Tribune reported that “negative politics are creeping into” the upcoming retention race of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride. Negative politics notwithstanding, Kilbride managed to achieve retention back in 2010, but his ten-year term is up again, and another retention hurdle looms.

The Tribune report from a decade ago prompted a Record editorial in defense of negative politics. “Heaven forbid that anyone should publicize [Kilbride’s] bad decisions or spend money to unseat him!” we said sarcastically, noting that negative messages can offer “a valued perspective,” particularly when they provide needed warnings about potential dangers or likely adverse outcomes.

“Anyone alerted to a hazard in time to avoid it should have a profound appreciation for negativity,” we opined. A candidate whose “character or record” may “presage injury to the body politic” is one such hazard that sensible voters want to be warned against.

Needless to say, Kilbride wasn’t going to publicize his own shortcomings ten years ago, and he’s not going to do so now, and who can blame him? That means the burden falls on his political opponents – and on the ever-dwindling number of reporters and editors in print, broadcast, and online media who still feel an obligation to tell the truth and let the public decide for themselves.

We accepted that burden ten years ago, and we accept it again now, which is why we provided in an article this week an eye-opening account of bad decisions Kilbride has made over the course of his tenure as a judge. We consider the documentation provided in this article to be a true public service, giving you the voters the facts you need to make an informed decision about his retention. So, please, read the article and draw your own conclusions. That way, you’ll be qualified to judge the judge, and you’ll be able to make a wise decision at the ballot box in November.

Ask yourself this: Does Thomas Kilbride merit retention? Should he ever have been a judge in the first place?