Judge John H. Ehrlich is the Cook County Democratic Party endorsed candidate in the Harris vacancy for the Illinois appellate court. Judge Ehrlich is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and, if elected, would be the first community member ever elected to the appellate court in Illinois history.
Judge Ehrlich graduated in 1980 from Northwestern University with majors in political science and history and a certificate of African studies. After college, Judge Ehrlich worked on Capitol Hill in Washington and wrote a bill that became a significant amendment to the Superfund Reauthorization Act.
Judge Ehrlich returned to Chicago to attend Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, from which he graduated in 1987. At law school, Judge Ehrlich was an editor-in-chief and a national moot court champion.
After law school, Judge Ehrlich worked in private practice for seven years, specializing in antitrust and appellate litigation. He then joined the City of Chicago’s office of corporation counsel in 1994. There, Judge Ehrlich worked in the appellate and torts divisions for 18 years, eventually heading the torts division. By the end of his career as an attorney, Judge Ehrlich had tried 25 jury trials and two bench trials and had written and/or argued 22 appeals in state and federal courts.
Judge Ehrlich is particularly proud of his work in 1996, when he drafted a petition for domestic partner benefits. Judge Ehrlich delivered the signed petitions to the mayor’s office. By March 1997, the city council had passed and the mayor had signed into law domestic partner benefits for all City of Chicago employees.
In 2012, Judge Ehrlich ran for the circuit court in the eighth judicial subcircuit. In a field of seven candidates, he received twice the vote of his nearest competitor.
Judge Ehrlich was initially assigned to the first municipal division, traffic section. In early 2013, Chief Judge Timothy Evans transferred Judge Ehrlich to the chancery division, foreclosure section, during the height of the foreclosure crisis. There, Judge Ehrlich worked diligently and successfully to keep homeowners in their homes.
In January 2014, Chief Judge Evans assigned Judge Ehrlich to the law division, motions section, where he is still assigned. Judge Ehrlich hears complex cases arising out of alleged medical and legal malpractice, nursing home and construction negligence, defamation, and other common law torts.
Judge Ehrlich is dedicated to transparency and access to justice. To that end, he is the only judge in the state of Illinois to publish his own opinions. Each of the 400+ opinions are available in full text on his page on the chief judge’s website. Also available are all appellate and supreme court opinions from Judge Ehrlich’s writings.
Judge Ehrlich has always received the highest rankings from the bar associations. Most recently, the Chicago Bar Association found him “Highly Qualified” and wrote that: “Judge Ehrlich is highly regarded by his judicial colleagues and attorneys that have appeared before him for his excellent writing skills, work ethic, fine demeanor, and the breadth and depth of his legal knowledge.”