Friday, November 17, 2006

Through the Uprights to the Upright: Judge Thomas' Moral Victory

"You will know the Truth
and the Truth
shall set you free." -John 8:32

FIT congratulates another Fighting Irish Thomas, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Thomas, on his $7 million libel victory Wednesday. The former Notre Dame and Chicago Bear place kicker went against conventional wisdom and sued a Chicago Bob Thomassuburban newspaper when it reported the Judge was part of a political fix. "I thank God," said a weeping Thomas. "The truth prevailed."

Figuring his reputation was on the line, Thomas couldn't just "let it go," when the Kane County Chronicle columnist Bill Page wrote that "confidential sources" told him that Thomas pushed for a severe punishment for Kane County State's Attorney Meg Gorecki but "backed off" after local Republicans agreed to back a candidate Bob favored in an upcoming election.

But after enduring three years of often negative trial and pre-trial publicity, Thomas was completely vindicated. Not only did Page never reveal his sources, he recently has quit his job with the Chronicle and moved to Florida. Despite a threatening e-mail from Page to the Illinois Supreme Court, the paper produced not one single witness to collaborate his story. "I tried my best to live with integrity," said Thomas. And not only did the jury unanimously agree that the judge was maliciously attacked, many of the jurors hugged him after the verdict was read.

It remains to be seen what the man the Bears called "Money" for his kicking under pressure will do with the 7 million (if he indeed receives it, for the Chronicle not only promised to challenge the verdict, the fact that its circulation has fallen from 38,000 when it made the allegations to around 14,000 currently doesn't bode well for its financial stability), the main thing is that a pro-life judge has stood up to the pro-death press and won. Thomas, who has made kicks to win the National Championship for the Irish and clinch the playoffs for the Bears, has now made a play that not only punishes this type of reporting but perhaps paves the way for future Pro-Lifers on the Illinois (and U.S.) Supreme Court as well. And if this is indeed the case, Judge Thomas' kick in the aspirations of an irresponsible Kane County journalist is his most important in a very upright career.

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