Former U.S. Atty. Dan Webb Endorses Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride

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Prominent Republican calls Kilbride’s credentials “unquestioned,” warns against efforts by political special interest groups seeking to undermine judicial independence

October 14, 2020

Ryan McLaughlin, 312-969-025                                                                 

Former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb has endorsed Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride for retention, calling Kilbride’s credentials “unquestioned.” The prominent Republican raised concerns about special interest groups running political campaigns targeting Kilbride, saying such efforts threaten to undermine the fairness and independence of our courts.

“I understand that various political special interest groups, relying largely on money from anonymous contributors, are actively opposing Justice Kilbride’s retention. But Justice Kilbride’s credentials are unquestioned and he is a capable and competent member of our Supreme Court—as evidenced by the immense support he has received from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike, including judges, other United States Attorneys, state’s attorneys, former governors, General Assembly members, sheriffs, mayors, and county board members. For those reasons, I am happy to endorse his retention,” Webb said. 

Webb was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois by President Ronald Regan and served as head of the Illinois Department of Law Enforcement (now known as the Illinois State Police) under former Gov. James R. Thompson. He has also served as a Special Prosecutor for both the local and federal government. Webb noted his personal experiences arguing before the Illinois Supreme Court to highlight Kilbride’s fairness on the bench.

“My personal viewpoints and the interests of the clients I represent have not always prevailed in the Supreme Court or, indeed, in any court. In a contested case, though, only one side ever does. I have always understood that and what I have always sought is a fair decision based on a court’s best interpretation of the law and facts. I know, from experience, that my clients have always received that from Justice Kilbride and his colleagues on the Supreme Court of Illinois,” Webb said.

Webb encouraged a “Yes” vote to retain Kilbride to send a message to special interest groups that political meddling in our courts will not be tolerated.

“To ensure that we all remain confident in the fairness of our courts, it is important that we are confident in the independence of our judiciary. Judges should work to follow the law regardless of the special interests of any group and without consideration of political consequences. Targeted political campaigns opposing the retention of capable and competent members of our courts, like Justice Kilbride, undermines that confidence. We should make clear—to special interest groups and the political parties on both sides—that we won’t allow that. Voting “Yes” for Justice Kilbride’s retention will help to send that message,” Webb said.

To retain his position on the state Supreme Court, Kilbride will need favorable votes from 60 percent of the voters who mark an answer to this question on their ballots.

“I am grateful that Dan Webb supports the independence of the court system. He is one of this state’s most respected and distinguished legal professionals,” said Kilbride. “The decisions I make on the court are based on the facts of law, not politics. That is why judges don’t wear a red or a blue robe, but a black robe to symbolize impartiality and the belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law.”

About Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride is an independent, common-sense judge who has devoted his career to ensuring the justice system works for all. During his time on the state’s high court he has served as Chief Justice, boosting transparency and public access. Kilbride has received more than 60 awards and honors that reflect his commitment to justice, hard work and community, including the prestigious ‘Award of Excellence in the Judiciary’ from the Illinois State Crime Commission. Kilbride, whose wife Mary teaches mathematics at Augustana College, is the proud father of three adult daughters. A graduate of Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee and St. Mary’s College, Kilbride earned his Juris Doctor from Antioch School of Law. He also received an honorary degree from Lewis University in Will County. For more information, please visit

The Third Judicial District spans the state’s east and west borders, taking in 21 counties primarily along and just south of I-80, to encompass the metropolitan areas of Galesburg, Kankakee, Peoria, Quincy and Rock Island/Moline. Its counties include: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Kankakee, Knox, La Salle, Marshall, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Whiteside and Will.

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A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s
official website ( ) or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.