Share the article: Justice Kilbride owes his judicial career to Mike Madigan: Will Madigan come to the rescue a third time?

With respected leaders like Ray LaHood, Jim Nowlan, and the people of the 3rd Judicial District fighting Mike Madigan’s control of the Illinois Supreme Court, Justice Tom Kilbride’s likelihood of retention is in serious jeopardy. This isn’t the state Supreme Court Justice’s first rodeo, however. He knows who can save his job with millions in campaign cash.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider explained, “Justice Kilbride owes his entire judicial career to one man: Speaker Mike Madigan. Kilbride’s seat on the Supreme Court is in jeopardy again, so it’s no surprise that Madigan’s special interest trial lawyer and union allies have already funneled millions to save Madigan’s favorite judge for a third time. Kilbride accepted millions of dollars directly from Madigan-controlled committees in previous campaigns; will Madigan rescue him again?”

Justice Kilbride is so essential to Madigan’s control over state government that the Chicago Sun Times declared in 2010: “The speaker’s greatest victory, arguably, is the retention of Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride.” (Editorial, “Mr. Speaker, you’ve got work to do,” Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 7, 2010)

Similarly, the Chicago Tribune specifically said “Madigan elected Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride, despite a stop-Kilbride campaign, as the speaker prepares that new political map.” (Editorial, “Mike Madigan wins big,” Chicago Tribune, Nov. 4, 2010)

Since 2000, the Madigan-controlled Democratic Party of Illinois has given Kilbride’s campaign $2,162,989 (Illinois State Board of Elections, Accessed 10/10/20)

It’s hard to see Madigan allowing his favorite judge on the state’s highest court go down without a fight after investing in Kilbride so heavily in his 2000 campaign and 2010 retention race. Will he step in a third time?

2000 Campaign

CHICAGO TRIBUNE:Kilbride Won Election In 2000 After Enjoying The Financial Support Of House Speaker Michael Madigan, Whose Campaign Funds Contributed Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars.” (Ray Gibson, “High Court Is In The Game,” Chicago Tribune, 12/14/08)

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: “…Justice Thomas Kilbride, whose 20-year labor practice in Rock Island was 150 miles from Chicago politics, was first elected to the Supreme Court with the blessing and support of longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago, the head of the state Democratic Party. Madigan funneled more than $700,000 in campaign funds to help Kilbride defeat his Republican opponent in 2000.” (Rick Pearson and David Kidwell, “Specter Of Politics Hangs Over Ruling,” Chicago Tribune, 1/27/11)

CRAIN’S CHICAGO BUSINESS: Kilbride Won In 2000 “Because Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars In Late Campaign Contributions From Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.” (Greg Hinz, “Buying Justice,” Crain’s Chicago Business, 10/18/10)

2010 Retention Campaign

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: In 2010, Kilbride “Raised A Whopping $2.48 Million To Save His Job” From “The Same Sources That Funded His 2000 Campaign: House Speaker Michael Madigan And Organized Labor.” (Editorial, “Kilbride And Madigan,” Chicago Tribune, 10/27/10)

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: “When Kilbride won a district long held by Republicans in 2000, he did it with an influx of hundreds of thousands of dollars that Madigan poured into the race. When Republican-allied business interests tried to deny Kilbride’s bid to win another 10-year term in 2010, Madigan again came through with money and troops.” (Ray Long and Monique Garcia, “Lawmakers May Punt On Pensions,” Chicago Tribune, 6/19/13)

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Madigan-controlled Democratic Party of Illinois has kicked in $1.42 million. The Illinois Federation of Teachers has given more than $454,000 in cash and in-kind contributions, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.” (Editorial, “Kilbride And Madigan,” Chicago Tribune, 10/27/10)

Madigan & Kilbride Connection Round-up

NEWS-GAZETTE EDITORIAL: Kilbride “Owes His Judicial Seat To The Support Of Speaker Madigan.” (Editorial, “Madigan Minions Wear Black Robes,” The News-Gazette, 2/7/18)

THE DAILY GAZETTE EDITORIAL:  “Kilbride Owes His Election In 2000, In No Small Part, To A $600,000 Campaign Contribution By Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan Of Chicago.” (Editorial, “New Chief Justice Should Allow Cameras In Court,” The Daily Gazette, 9/18/10)

CHICAGO TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: “Why Was The Chicago Democratic Speaker So Interested In A Central Illinois Court Race? Consider It A $500,000 Insurance Policy, If You Will.” (Editorial, “It’s Remap Time — Grab Your Hat,” Chicago Tribune, 9/5/01)

CHICAGO TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: “Why Would Madigan Put So Much Money In A Judicial Election When He’s Also Trying To Save His Members In The House? Precisely Because He Wants To Save His Members In The House — For The Next Decade.” (Editorial, “Kilbride And Madigan,” Chicago Tribune, 10/27/10)


Join The Fight To Help Rebuild Illinois

Follow us online