Levander Smith Jr. is in a unique position.

Levander Smith Jr. is in a unique position.

It's his first campaign for Cook County Circuit Court judge—but he already sits on the bench.


by Andrew Davis,
Windy City Times

2020-01-08

In February 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Smith as a judge ( in the domestic-violence division ), with a term set to expire Dec. 7, 2020. Therefore, in order to retain his seat, he has to run for office ( in the Larsen vacancy, so called because Judge Diane Larsen retired, paving the way for Smith to be appointed ). However, it turns out that he also holds another judgeship.

Windy City Times: You're already a judge, but you're running for a vacancy.

Levander Smith Jr.: Yes. I applied for an associate judgeship in 2017; that process didn't start until 2018. I was selected to be among the finalists and—from what I understand—for the first time in Cook County history, I tied with a guy for the last position ( the 17th slot ). I again applied for an associate judgeship and I waited patiently for that round to take hold again—and then I was called in February [2019] to fill a vacancy for someone who retired during her six-year term. So I'm completing her term, but I have to be in that number, so to speak [laughs], in order to keep my position for the next six years as a circuit-court judge.

In the process of campaigning for this circuit-court position, I was blessed to not only make the short list for the associate round but also to get an associate position, so I [was sworn in] on Jan. 6 as an associate judge. I know it's a bit confusing. [Laughs] And if I win the primary in March, I'll be back on my way to being a circuit-court judge.

WCT: So how does that hierarchy work?

LSJ: Circuit-court judges are elected by the people; associate judges are selected by circuit-court judges—so I did vote for myself. [Laughs] It's weird, I know.

The [circuit-court judges] make a little more money and, more importantly, have more voting power.

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$postedon 08 Jan 2020, 01:56 - $blogcat: In the News