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Rare dissents from an Illinois supreme court supervisory order

December 15, 2012 by in General

Issuing supervisory orders is one of the more mysterious things that the Illinois Supreme Court does. Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court has supervisory authority over all lower courts in the state. Under that authority, the court has plenary power to direct the lower courts to take whatever actions are necessary to achieve a proper result in a given case or in connection with the administration of justice.

Supervisory orders are mysterious both because the supervisory power is so broad that one cannot accurately predict where and how it may be exercised and also because discussion, reasoning, and explanations rarely accompany such orders. The typical supervisory order simply directs the lower court what to do and that is that.

But a recent supervisory order entered by “the Court” — as they typically are — drew not one but two dissents. Justice Theis, joined by Justice Burke, argued that the supervisory order (which directed the trial court to dissolve a preliminary injunction) unnecessarily and improperly encroached upon the trial court’s role and that the dispute should have been remanded to the trial court for further proceedings without directions. Chief Justice Kilbride’s dissent argues that the court should not have issued a supervisory order at all, but if it did, he agreed with the other dissenters that a remand to the trial court without directions was appropriate.

Weems v. Appellate Court, Fifth District, Appeal No. 115240, Supervisory Order entered on December 11, 2012.

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