Justice Kilbride prevails in costly Ill. retention election

Ann Maher Nov. 3, 2010, 1:12am


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride has been retained to a second 10-year term.

With 74 percent of precincts reporting in the state's 3rd Judicial District, Kilbride has won 65 percent of the vote. He needed at least 60 percent to win the one-person retention race.

Since July, Kilbride's campaign committee has raised more than $2.6 million to fend off a challenge from a pro-business group critical of his record on jobs, crime and vote to overturn the state's medical malpractice law.

The race has been dubbed the second most expensive judicial retention race in the country.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and the Justice at Stake Campaign called spending on both sides - which exceeded $3.2 million -- "extraordinary" for a retention election, where only incumbents appear on the ballot and voters decide whether to grant another term.

At least $1.4 million of Kilbride's contributions had come from the state Democratic Party.

The Illinois Civil Justice League led the effort to oust Kilbride. ICJL's political action committee raised approximately $670,000, mainly from business interests.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce contributed $150,000 to the anti-retention campaign.

Legal Newsline is owned by the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Kilbride was one of four justices who voted in February to overturn the state's medical malpractice law.

After the 4-2 court decision, which knocked down a 2005 state law that capped non-economic "pain and suffering" damages against hospitals and doctors, Kilbride became an election target for the medical and business communities.

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