Illinois Supreme Court balance could change with outcome of 2022 midterm election


Tony Webster | Flickr

A ‘Vote Here’ sign outside an election polling place at Woodbury City Hall in Woodbury, Minnesota, during the 2020 general election, on November 3, 2020.

Registered voters across the state of Illinois have been casting their votes for the 2022 Midterm Elections. Current Governor JB Pritzker is running for a second term for the democratic party. He is challenged by Republican candidate and state Senator Darren Bailey.

While this race has been one of the many races many will be following over the coming days as the results come in, there is one race that many will be following tonight. Two seats for the Illinois Supreme Court are up for reelections. This race is being watched closely because the Republican party could take over the state’s Supreme Court for the first time in over 50 years with getting a four to three majority.

Illinois is split up into five different districts. District one consists of all of Cook County. This district is represented by three Supreme Court justices. The other four remaining districts each are represented and elect one justice.

Voters in the second and third districts will decide the two races for the state’s highest court. The second districts race features Democrat Elizabeth Rochford and Republican Mark Curran. The third district the race is between Republican Mike Burke and Democrat Mary O’Brien.

As of this morning the Democrats held on to their majority of the Supreme Court as Rochford declared victory last night. The third district is still waiting for the results as of this morning.

This was a concern for many registered voters with the possibility of the Supreme Court turning to a Republican majority could drastically change many of the different laws that have been put in place over the past few decades. One of the biggest impacts the change in majority party could be the state’s stance on abortion rights.

Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court decided to overturn the ruling of Roe v. Wade ruling. This decision dismantled over 50 years of legal protection for women to have the right to an abortion. The ruling also gave individual states the choice to make the decision on whether to ban abortions in their state.

With the change of most justices in the state, the Republican party could change much process the state has made with protecting women’s rights from over the years. Voters like Katie Weber expressed her concerns about this proposition while at the polling station.

“The drastic changes to our current laws which took years to mold could be gone and women’s rights regarding their own bodies reversed” Weber said. “We are turning back the clock.”

She also hopes the seats remain in the Democrats control.

Even Bethany Reed is also paying attention to the Supreme Court race as she cast her votes.

“If the votes flip the Illinois Supreme Court to red, then we will likely see some of the protections for Roe vs. Wade will not stand,” said Reed. “It will affect Illinois laws for many years to come on key issues like Roe vs. Wade.”

Another group of laws that could be affected by the Supreme Court are the gun laws in the state. Illinois currently has some of the strongest gun laws in the country. The state currently requires background on all gun sales. Lawmakers have also made buyers receive a permit to purchase a firearm. This is another aspect of the Supreme Court race Reed has been attention to.

“The things that could be overturned include gun laws, not just Roe vs. Wade, which is the hottest topic, and those Gun laws took years to build,” Reed said. “I do not think we can imagine how much life as we currently know it will change if this were to happen.”

This election can have major implications if the two seats up for the election change to majority for the other party. While many may ignore to vote for the Supreme Court justices in their districts, Weber is hoping many take a moment and choose a candidate on the voting ballot.

“If you care about the issues, or if these issues are of importance to you, go vote your conscience,” Weber said.