Madison County GOP Chair Jeremy Plank is asking the 3rd Judicial Circuit to appoint more Republican attorneys to the bench.
Twenty-two judges make up the court in the circuit, which consists of Madison and Bond counties. Only two are Republicans.
“It really is hard to believe that in a county where Republicans are in the majority less than 10 percent of the judges are Republicans,“ Plank said in a release.
The circuit has 13 associate judges and nine circuit judges. Associates are elected in a secret ballot by the circuit judges, while circuit judges are elected by the citizens of the county to six-year terms. Associate judges serve four-year terms after which they can be reappointed by the circuit judges or be removed by them in another secret vote.
None of the last several openings has gone to Republicans, he said, including this month’s appointment of attorney Ron Foster, the chairman of the Edwardsville Township Democrats, to fill the slot of former Associate Judge Don Flack, who joined the firm of Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis.
Less than three years ago, five associate judge openings occurred simultaneously when the nine circuit judges refused to reappoint five of the 13 Associate judges to a new term. Nearly 50 candidates, including several highly respected Republican lawyers, applied for the vacancies. No Republican was chosen for any of those five openings, Plank said.
“If our county is going to shake its reputation as a judicial hellhole the judiciary needs more balance. Two Republican judges out of 22 total does not reflect the political makeup of a county with a Republican majority,” said Plank.
“I find it troubling that Republican applicants for associate judge have been passed over now 16 times in a row, with only two appointments in the past 23 years and none in the past 12 years,” said Plank. “It seems that nearly all of the associate judges appointed in the past 12 years have come from either the State’s Attorney’s Office or one of the local plaintiff’s firms owned by wealthy democrat attorneys," he said.