Rathje Holding Head High despite Primary Loss

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 23, 2000 | Go to article overview

Rathje Holding Head High despite Primary Loss


Justice S. Louis Rathje may have lost Tuesday's Republican primary for Illinois Supreme Court, but he has few regrets about his campaign.

Rathje chose to stay out of the fray that developed between the GOP's eventual winner, Bob Thomas, and candidate Bonnie Wheaton. In doing so, Rathje also lost out in name recognition.

"As a loser? Yes," Rathje said when asked about regrets. "As a person? No. I'm just not that kind of a man. I guess my personal beliefs and self-worth are more important than winning an election at any cost. I'm not saying they did it wrong. I just wouldn't do it that way. It's not me."

Rathje, who was appointed to the high court last year after Justice John Nickels retired, came in third against Wheaton, a DuPage County Circuit judge, and Thomas, an Illinois appellate judge and former Chicago Bears place-kicker.

"I just think Thomas ran a very good campaign," Rathje said. "I think the notoriety that developed not only from his football years but also the controversy between him and Judge Wheaton raised his name recognition with the public."

Rathje, 60, became a private attorney in 1964. He's served as both an appellate and circuit court justice. On a more personal note, Rathje and another lawyer in 1973 started legal aid for poor people through the DuPage County Bar Association. And, as a child, he also overcame polio - a disease doctors said would keep him from walking again.

As of December, Rathje will be looking for a job. His plans, he said, are "up in the air."

Muzzled: It's getting a heck of a lot tougher for the public to learn about crimes committed in their neighborhoods.

Prosecutors across Illinois are forbidden to reveal before a trial's outcome key aspects of the crime, such as how it was committed, suspect descriptions and any information about the evidence. …

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