FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 22, 2022
Alex Hanns, GPAC firstname.lastname@example.org
Anders Lindall at 312-415-0403
Campaign Launched to Highlight Importance of Illinois Court Races In Wake of U.S. Supreme Court Rulings
Chicago — A new drive was unveiled today to alert and educate Illinois voters about the critical importance of the November races for the Illinois Supreme Court. More than 100 civic leaders, legal experts and public officials have joined forces to support the “Protect Our Court” campaign.
“Recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have drastically curtailed federal legal protections for Illinois residents in the areas of reproductive freedom, safety from gun violence, environmental protection, voting access and more,” said William McNary, Co-Director of Citzen Action/Illinois, the statewide progressive advocacy coalition. “Consequently, the Illinois Supreme Court remains the bulwark to protect those rights but this November’s elections will decide the court’s balance and direction.”
McNary noted that judicial elections are traditionally of low voter interest. The new campaign aims to increase voter attention to the state Supreme Court races and educate them on their rights that are at risk.
Participating in the launch event were 9th District Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Larry Rogers, Jr., Commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review, Julie Hamos, former Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Tim Drea, President of the Illinois AFL-CIO, Renato Mariotti, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Betty Magness, the Illinois Political Director for the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, Howard Learner, President of the Environmental Law and Policy Center and Kathleen Sances, President of the Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee – Illinois.
“The extremist drift of the U.S. Supreme Court in its recent decisions undermines fundamental rights for Illinoisans — key protections that are supported by strong majorities of voters,” said Cong. Schakowsky. “The Illinois Supreme Court remains a bulwark to protect justice, fairness and our rights. Unfortunately we have already seen big money right-wing political forces intervene to push their agendas in state Supreme Court elections.”
“When the U.S. Supreme Court discarded 50 years of a fundamental Constitutional right to reproductive freedom with Dobbs decision, the election Illinois Supreme Court justices became the greatest importance to all Illinois women and families on November 8th”, said Hamos.
“Just last month the radical-right members of the federal court struck down a New York handgun law. While that ruling did not affect us herein Illinois, it easily could have,” said Sances. “That’s why we must make sure the Illinois Supreme Court acts as a firewall against the SCOTUS. From the mass shooting in Highland Park to the everyday violence in Chicago and other cities, no community is immune to the tragic toll of gun violence”
The campaign will undertake a range of activities to inform voters including research and distribution of information on the rights at stake, education of the members of participating organizations, and direct voter contact through volunteer activists urging individuals in relevant districts to vote in the Supreme Court races. It will not make endorsements of specific candidates.
“Our purpose is to alert voters of their rights that are at risk and educate them on the records of those who are running for election or retention in the Supreme Court races,” McNary added. “We believe that once voters are so informed, that they will make the right choices.”
The campaign’s supporters also include eight Members of Congress and other public officials including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch, University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey R. Stone and numerous other legal experts including former U.S. Attorneys and law faculty, as well as Lew Collins, President Emeritus of the Illinois Institute of Technology and dozens of other civic leaders from advocacy, labor and civil rights organizations (full list attached.)
Protect Our Rights, Save Our Illinois Supreme Court
Julie Hamos, Attorney
Former Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Illinois Political Director, Rainbow-Push Coalition
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney
Larry Rogers, Jr.
Commissioner, Cook County Board of Review
Statement of Principle
As leaders in our communities, we are deeply concerned about the rightward drift of the U.S. Supreme Court and its recent decisions that undermine the fundamental individual rights, voting rights, equal access to justice, and democratic freedoms of our nation. Though much remains to be done, we have made important strides here in Illinois in respecting those vital rights and goals. These advances, however, are imperiled by the current direction of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Illinois Supreme Court remains a bulwark to protect justice, fairness and the fundamental rights of Illinoisans. We have already seen extremist political forces intervene to push their agendas in the state Supreme Court elections. Consequently, we have come together to highlight the importance of this year’s Illinois Supreme Court races, and to educate the Illinois public on the issues at stake, and to support a court that will protect the rights of all Illinoisans.