Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Mary Jane Theis, Judge Presiding.
Rehearing Denied January 22, 1997. Released for Publication January 29, 1997.
The Honorable Justice Gallagher delivered the opinion of the court. McNAMARA, and Hourihane, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gallagher
JUSTICE GALLAGHER delivered the opinion of the court:
Plaintiff, R. Eugene Pincham, appeals the order of the trial court dismissing his claim for declaratory relief. On appeal, plaintiff contends that the trial court erred in finding that his complaint for declaratory relief presented no controversy that was ripe for adjudication. We affirm.
On January 31, 1987, while a sitting justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, plaintiff gave a speech at the headquarters of Operation PUSH. During this speech, plaintiff made comments related to the upcoming mayoral election involving Harold Washington.
As a justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, plaintiff was bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct. At the time of plaintiff's speech, Illinois Supreme Court Rules 67(A)(2) and (A)(4) provided as follows:
"(2) A judge may not, except when a candidate for office or retention, participate in political campaigns or activities, or make political contributions.
(4) A judge should not engage in any other political activity except on behalf of measures to improve the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice."
134 Ill. 2d Rs. 67(A)(2),(A)(4).
On February 23, 1987, plaintiff received a letter from the Judicial Inquiry Board (the Board). The letter notified plaintiff that the Board sought to determine whether there was a reasonable basis to bring charges against plaintiff for certain remarks he made at the Operation PUSH forum.
Plaintiff filed an action in federal court seeking to enjoin the Board from proceeding against him before the Illinois Courts Commission. The district court dismissed plaintiff's claim in Pincham v. Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, 681 F. Supp. 1309 (N.D. Ill. 1988). The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision in Pincham v. Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, 872 F.2d 1341 (7th Cir. 1989).
On March 8, 1988, four days after the federal district court decision came down, the Board filed charges before the Illinois Courts Commission alleging that plaintiff violated Rules 67(A)(2) and (A)(4). On August 3, 1989, after the seventh circuit rendered its decision, the Illinois Courts Commission set the case for motions and arguments. After a hearing on August 28, 1989, the Illinois Courts Commission ...