Rouhy Shalabi named Associate Judge in Cook County
Palestinian American lawyer Rouhy Shalabi was named as an Associate Judge to the Cook County Circuit Court and was sworn in to the post on Monday Jan. 6, 2020. He is the first Palestinian Judge and joins several Arab Americans who have served on the bench including Sam Betar, Bill Haddad and Miriam Balanoff.
Palestinian American Rouhy Shalabi, an attorney and member of the Chicago Park District board of Directors was sworn-in on Monday Jan. 6, 2020 as an Associate Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court. Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans presided over the ceremony.
Shalabi was one of 30 attorneys and individuals who were nominated by the Circuit Court Nominating Committee last November to the position of Associate Judge of the Circuit Court by a panel of judges seeking to fill vacancies. The court selected 15 of the nominees to fill 15 vacancies.
In Mr. Shalabi’s thirty-five years as a sole practitioner, he has litigated numerous civil and criminal trials, recovered millions of dollars in personal injury matters, reached just resolutions in divorce matters, and closed on hundreds of residential and commercial properties.
Mr. Shalabi has been active in the community for decades. In 2002, he was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley as the first Arab-American Commissioner to the City of Chicago Park District.
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He was also the first Arab-American appointed to the Board of Commissioners, Chicago Commission on Human Relations. He served as the first President of the City of Chicago Advisory Council on Arab Affairs, and is a founding member and former President of the Arab-American Bar Association.
In addition, Mr. Shalabi served as a member of the Circuit Court of Cook County Racial and Ethnic Committee, the State’s Attorney’s Hate Crimes Commission, the Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee on the Media, the Family Violence Prevention Council, and is President of two Chicago Local School Councils.
Mr. Shalabi is a graduate of Northern Illinois College of Law. He and his wife have eight children.
The Nominating Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County today announced its selection of the 30 candidates who will seek appointment to15 Associate Judge vacancies by a vote of the Circuit Judges. All of the candidates received across-the-board positive ratings from the bar associations.
Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans issued a statement about the nominations when they were made in November 2019 but the appoints were not confirmed until earlier this month.
“I am pleased to submit the names of these candidates for consideration to join the bench of the Circuit Court of Cook County,” Evans said.
“With their bar association evaluations, legal experience and diverse backgrounds, these candidates represent excellence. Any one of them is ready to serve the public as a member of the judiciary. The interview process presented a wealth of talented applicants, and we thank them all. The challenge the Nominating Committee faces every time is that there are more excellent applicants than the number of candidates we can nominate.”
The Nominating Committee employed a comprehensive approach in the nomination process that considered multiple aspects such as a variety of legal experience in the public and private sectors, and diversity of race, ethnicity and gender.
The Nominating Committee is made up of the following judges:
- Honorable Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge
- Honorable Mary Ellen Coghlan, Justice, Illinois Appellate Court
- Honorable Grace G. Dickler, Presiding Judge, Domestic Relations Division
- Honorable James P. Flannery Jr., Presiding Judge, Law Division
- Honorable Sophia H. Hall, Administrative Presiding Judge, Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section
- Honorable Moshe Jacobius, Presiding Judge, Chancery Division
- Honorable Raymond L. Jagielski, Presiding Judge, Fifth Municipal District
- Honorable LeRoy K. Martin Jr., Presiding Judge, Criminal Division
- Honorable Sharon M. Sullivan, Presiding Judge, County Division
- Honorable Shelley Sutker-Dermer, Presiding Judge, Second Municipal District
- Honorable E. Kenneth Wright Jr., Presiding Judge, First Municipal District
A total of 212 licensed attorneys originally submitted applications for consideration, and 18 applicants withdrew from the process before interviews. The Nominating Committee interviewed 194 applicants. However, one applicant withdrew after being interviewed, leaving 193 applicants. The selection of the 30 candidates was unanimous.
Below is the list of the 30 candidates that was forwarded to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts by the Nominating Committee:
- ALONSO, Amee Elizabeth
- AMMENDOLA, Marina E.
- ANDREOU, Frank John
- AYALA-GONZALEZ, Laura
- BATES, Fredrick Hayze
- BHANDARI, Aileen
- BROOKS, Lloyd James
- COLEMAN, Jennifer Frances
- FAIRMAN, John Abbrey
- FORTI, Michael Angelo
- FOTOPOULOS, John S.
- GUDINO, Ruth Isabel
- HOGAN, Michael James, Jr.
- MALONEY, Edward James
- MAYS, Celestia Laurene
- O’DELL, Katherine Angela
- PATTERSON, Monique Lenee’
- PAYNE, Jennifer Joyce
- PEZANOSKI, Diane Marie
- PLOTNICK, Paul William
- RAKOWSKI, Leo Steven
- ROSENBERG, Geri Pinzur
- ROSS, Curtis Bennett
- SAUCEDA, Eric Michael
- SHALABI, Rouhy J.
- SIMON, John Anthony
- SMITH, Levander, Jr.
- SMITH, Theresa Marie
- TIERNAN, Daniel Owen
- WALTON, Tyria Beatrice
The 252 Circuit Judges have the constitutional authority to fill associate judge vacancies and are required to follow the procedures outlined in Rule 39 of the Rules of the Illinois Supreme Court. Under Supreme Court Rule 39, the Nominating Committee must select twice as many qualified candidates as there are vacancies to be filled; in this case, 30 candidates were selected to fill 15 vacancies.
The Chief Judge must then notify the Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts of the names of the candidates selected by the Committee and request the Director to begin the balloting process. Within 14 days after the Chief Judge’s notification, the Director mails a secret ballot with the names of each candidate to each circuit judge. The judges vote for one candidate for each vacancy to be filled. The judges must return the ballots to the Director within 14 days of the date the ballots were distributed. The Director then counts the ballots which are accompanied by a signed card, tabulates the results and certifies them to the Chief Judge – at all times maintaining the secrecy of the ballots.
Bar evaluations were issued for all of the associate judge applicants by The Chicago Bar Association and the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, at the request of Chief Judge Evans. The Alliance is made up of 12 minority and ethnic bar organizations as follows: the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area, the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, the Chicago Council of Lawyers, the Cook County Bar Association, the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, the Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and the Arab American Bar Association of Illinois.
Each bar association issued its own ratings for individual Associate Judge applicants. Attached with this press release are the evaluations of the 30 candidates. Chief Judge Evans thanks The Chicago Bar Association and the Alliance for the considerable time and resources that were expended to produce the ratings.