SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Facing a potential loss of their party's longtime majority at the Illinois Supreme Court, Democrats offered several dire warnings Friday.
"And, if these right-wing zealots succeed in prevailing in the election of the two Supreme Court justices, they will become emboldened," said former Democratic State Rep. Julie Hamos.
Two of the state Supreme Court's seven seats are up for election this fall. Should Republican candidates take both, the GOP would have a partisan majority of justices for the first time in decades. Gun control activists see a threat to Illinois rules for firearms.
"But let me be clear, every policy advancement we make can be subject to a rollback in rights by the Illinois Supreme Court," said Kathleen Sances of Gun violence Prevention Action Committee.
Former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, the Republican Party nominee for one of the state Supreme Court seats, said in a written statement that he would not be a judicial activist, but would "be wholly committed to following and interpreting the Constitution."
Curran has run previously as pro-life, and abortion rights activists say they fear the court could overturn pro-choice laws.
"If that is challenged and overturned or restored by the future Illinois Supreme Court, it will provide that in Illinois life begins at conception. That would make all abortions illegal in all cases, no exceptions," said Hamos.
It's likely to be a very expensive contest, with both sides committing big bucks already.