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Oberman All Wet

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Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to the letter of Martin Oberman, as president of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, in your December 12, 1997, issue.

In his letter, Mr. Oberman criticizes IVI-IPO's focus "on paper qualifications and political considerations" in endorsing judicial candidates. At the same time, Mr. Oberman claims that judicial candidates "are not rewarded or punished" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers "for their political views."

Mr. Oberman's suggestion that the council does not take political positions on judicial candidates is surprising in light of the activities of Jerry Meites ["Fighting Over Scraps," November 7], one of Mr. Oberman's longstanding political associates, on the IVI-IPO state board, of which I have long been a member.

It is my understanding that Jerry Meites has been an active member of the Chicago Council of Lawyers for years, simultaneously with his membership on the IVI-IPO state board.

On the IVI-IPO state board, Mr. Meites has repeatedly taken political positions concerning our endorsements of judicial candidates. At state board meetings, Mr. Meites has spoken in opposition to judicial candidates whom he has denounced as "machine hacks," irrespective of bar association evaluations. Also, in connection with the 1996 general election, Mr. Meites opposed IVI-IPO endorsement for each and every candidate running for retention as judge of the circuit court, again irrespective of bar association evaluations.

Plainly, Mr. Meites has a political agenda with respect to judicial candidates. To the extent Mr. Meites appears to participate in the Council of Lawyers' evaluation of judges, is it reasonable to believe that he checks his political beliefs at the door?

Ivory D. Mitchell

S. Chicago Beach

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