Share the article: IL Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Rochford Fundraises for Democrat Candidates

On Saturday, Rochford violated the Illinois Supreme Court’s Code of Judicial Conduct by being the keynote speaker at the Lake County Democratic Women PAC’s annual fundraiser.

NORTH CHICAGO — This past Saturday, September 9, Rochford was the keynote speaker at the Lake County Democratic Women Political Action Committee’s annual fundraiser. The fundraiser’s online donation page states ticket sales will benefit the PAC, whose purpose, according to their filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections, is “to support the election of Democratic women candidates in Lake County, IL.”

The Illinois Supreme Court’s Code of Judicial Conduct (Canon 4, Page 48-50) is clear: sitting judges who aren’t up for election shall not speak at political functions supporting the election of candidates:

“Except as may be specifically authorized in the context of judicial election campaigns, Rule 4.1 prohibits judges and judicial candidates from “publicly” endorsing or making “speeches” on behalf of political candidates or organizations.”

“Paragraphs (A)(2) and (A)(3) prohibit judges and judicial candidates from making speeches on behalf of political prevent them from misusing the prestige of judicial office to advance the interests of others.”

As recently as 2021, the Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee issued a clear opinion on this very issue: “…an incumbent judge who is a judicial candidate may appear as a guest of honor at a political party’s fundraising event, but a judge not presently a candidate is forbidden from doing so.”

The Code of Judicial Conduct makes clear why these ethics rules for judges are so important: “Public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary is eroded if judges or judicial candidates are perceived to be subject to political influence.”

“Illinois voters deserve a fair and impartial state Supreme Court that’s free of and from politics, which does not appear to be the case here,” – Illinois Republican Party Executive Director Shaun McCabe

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