Watch what you say about judges, yet again: For the second time, Illinois circuit court judge Patrick Kelley has dismissed a $110 million defamation lawsuit filed by former Madison County appellate judge Gordon Maag against groups that criticized him during his unsuccessful 2004 double run for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court and for retention in his existing seat. Maag’s attorney, Rex Carr, vowed to appeal. (Paul Hampel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan. 9; Steve Gonzalez, “Maag’s defamation suit dismissed, again”, St. Clair Record, Jan. 9; “That’s two strikes, now spare us” (editorial), Madison Record, Jan. 15). Since losing the races, Maag has aimed defamation suits at a wide range of local and national groups that include the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the American Tort Reform Association and even the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, with which I’m affiliated (no, I don’t know what his theory for including it was, and I haven’t asked). For more on the controversy, see Dec. 23, 2004, as well as PoL Jun. 10, 2005 and assorted links there.
As usual, the funniest piece on the controversy came from the wonderful (and brave) columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bill McClellan, who explains that he is not among Judge Maag’s critics (after all, who likes getting sued?) but notices that “there seems to be some question as to whether he is a resident of Illinois, as he stated in one of his suits, or a resident of Alabama, as he stated in another.” (“With confusion over residency, lawyer’s critics feel vindicated”, Nov. 25).