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Illinois Chief Justice Anne Burke

Today’s Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois Chief Justice Anne M. Burke has announced her retirement.

To the active and energetic mind, to the profound intellect, to the ever-restless curiosity, to the lifelong seeker after justice, the ease and indolence of retirement can often be harder to bear than continued labor in one’s metier.

Illinois Chief Justice Anne M. Burke will have no problems in this regard.

Although former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan may have wished that Illinois had a palace, its absence was no bar to the creation of his own palace clique of sycophants, not-so-brave adventurers, lobbyists, hangers-on, lackeys and lickspittles. And of this Madigan camarilla C.J. Burke was certainly the most important figure. Madigan had a live human wiretap into the highest, most important and most sensitive judicial deliberations in the state.

Madigan opposed the independent redistricting referendum, which came before the Illinois Supreme Court in 2016. Burke ensured that this measure, which favored voters’ rights and democracy in Illinois, was a non-starter. Any act or measure disfavored by Madigan that came before Burke’s Supreme Court would be condemned. In all matters Burke carried out Madigan’s will to the best of her ability.

Madigan, ever bashful, continually disclaimed having any influence or power over any one or any thing in Springfield, and he affected to be no more than a simple state rep and ward committeeman. But if he ever expressed his opinion on any issue, or, even less, granted or withheld his wink or nod, none could doubt what the final result would be. We miss Madigan’s ostentatious pretenses of powerlessness, humility, meekness and modesty. Well, at least we will until his criminal trial begins.

Then Commonwealth Edison’s Bribery Department (see July 20, 2020 Deferred Prosecution Agreement) offered its payroll to Madigan as a patronage machine to supply the place of Chicago’s Streets and Sanitation Department. The influence of Exelon in the Illinois General Assembly became paramount, and the interests of and protections for Illinois ratepayers concomitantly declined. Chief Justice Burke ensured that as far as Exelon’s bespoke laws protecting its revenues were concerned, constitutionality was nothing more than a dangerous luxury. With Madigan’s wink and under Burke’s watchful eye, Illinois legislation became Chris Crane’s own pull-toy. Sadly, Exelon must now do without either Mike Madigan or Anne Burke. Crane must know how Napoleon felt when he bade farewell to his Imperial Guard before setting sail for Elba.

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