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Robin DeGroot, a conservator for Third Coast Conservation in Elmhurst, explains the nuanced restoration work he did on cubby holes in the desk that Abraham Lincoln used to draft a presidential inaugural address in Springfield. He delivered the speech March 4, 1861, on the eve of the Civil War. – AP Photo/John O'Connor

Desk where Lincoln wrote of ‘better angels of our nature’ is restored

SPRINGFIELD — The storage-room merchants’ desk where President-elect Abraham Lincoln penned his first inaugural address, beseeching southern states to recall the “mystic chords of memory” and invoke “the better angels of our nature” to circumvent the Civil War, was unveiled by Illinois officials Thursday after a painstaking restoration to its 1850s splendor.

Hastert settles hush money suit

YORKVILLE — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and a man who accused him of child sexual abuse reached a tentative out-of-court settlement Wednesday over Hastert’s refusal to pay the man $1.8 million — the outstanding balance in hush money that the Illinois Republican agreed to pay the man in 2010.

First ‘Varsity Blues’ trial kicks off

BOSTON — The first trial in the college admissions bribery scandal opened with defense attorneys seeking to portray the two parents accused of buying their kids’ way into school as victims of a con man who believed their payments were legitimate donations.

Barrett concerned about public perception of Supreme Court

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett expressed concerns Sunday that the public may increasingly see the court as a partisan institution.

20 years after 9/11, Americans poll less positive about state of civil liberties

Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, Americans were reasonably positive about the state of their rights and liberties. Today, after 20 years, not as much.

Clarence Thomas gives speech at Notre Dame, criticizes judges for veering into politics

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Thursday criticized some in the judiciary for veering into the role of legislators and politicians, saying it is not the role of judges to make policy or to base decisions on their personal feelings or religious beliefs.

Illinois Supreme Court considers firearm ownership case

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to consider the laws of the state of California and the U.S. Constitution in ruling on one man’s eligibility to be issued a Firearm Owners Identification card by the Illinois State Police.

U.S. reviewing policies on transgender inmates after Illinois militia leader sentencing

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is reviewing its policies on housing transgender inmates in the federal prison system after protections for transgender prisoners were rolled back in the Trump administration, The Associated Press has learned.

Biden slammed for challenging nuclear workplace health law

SPOKANE, Wash. — Officials in Washington state are upset the Biden administration is challenging a law making it easier for workers who become ill at a former nuclear weapons production site to be compensated.

Courts & Cases

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Trial Notebook


Hospital throws Hail Mary pass

Running out of cash and tired of getting jerked around with slow-pay gimmicks by the “managed care organizations” that receive per person monthly fees from the State of Illinois to handle healthcare for 80% of the folks enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program, Saint Anthony Hospital sued Theresa Eagleson, director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Dedicated to serving the poor on Chicago’s west side, the hospital — invoking Sec. 1983 of the 1871 Civil Rights Act — alleged the state deprived it of its rights under the Medicaid Act by failing to make sure MCOs complied with statutory requirements for prompt payment of claims from healthcare providers.

Litigation Tactics

No uniform rules about rewriting deponent errata sheet testimony

Imagine: You just deposed the opposing party and were rewarded with a significant admission, or perhaps the plaintiff was unable to articulate basic facts underpinning the claim. You receive the errata sheet expecting minor corrections, like fixing the spelling of a name, only to find that opposing counsel has rewritten the deponent’s testimony — smoothing out sentences, adding new facts, or otherwise changing the meaning of answers.

For the Defense

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7th Circuit joins the COVID-19 insurance coverage party

Following recent decisions by the 8th and 11th Circuits — and arguments last Friday in the 2nd and 9th Circuits — a panel made up of 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Diane P. Wood, David F. Hamilton and Daniel A. Manion heard argument in four cases, including one that was three consolidated cases, dealing generally with the issue of whether there is insurance coverage under property policies as a result of COVID-19 government closure orders.

Cotter’s Corner

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Shadow docket revealed, along with host of problems it poses

Over the last several years, we have often discussed the issue of the shadow docket, a term coined by University of Chicago Law School Professor William Baude to refer to the increasing use by the U.S. Supreme Court of decision-making that evades the normal appellate process and in which the court issues decisions without oral arguments or without full briefing by the parties.

Opening Statement


Clowns send in shows of spectacle, good cheer

For many years now, Chicago has been frequented by a bunch of clowns. And this is not a political commentary — I am referring to real clowns with painted faces, ridiculous costumes and flamboyant behavior.

Sports Marketing Playbook

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New initiatives are game-changers for unsponsored Olympic athletes

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles earned $5 million a year in corporate sponsorship deals from a slew of household names including United Airlines, Visa and Uber Eats. Swimmer Katie Ledecky nets $3 million a year from brands such as Adidas and Ralph Lauren, among others.

Opening Statement


A dark comedy with a warning at Theatre Wit

Finally, after more than a year and a half of the pandemic theater blackout, I received an invitation for a press opening night to a live stage production at Theatre Wit, 1229 W. Belmont.

Opening Statement


‘Only Murders’ stars some of comedy’s best in true-crime satire

Even with a surge of the COVID-19 delta variant dampening our hopes of finally ending the blackout on live theater, we can still look forward to an array of new streamed series filling the many available platforms.

Opening Statement


Humanities, music festivals promise an artful autumn

The legendary, affable New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra had a way with words. When he would say, “It ain’t over til it’s over,” he meant to encourage those on the brink of defeat not to give up.

Social Scene


Program aims to provide free legal representation

Fredrick Dennis spoke Tuesday about receiving legal and social services when he was a client of Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC). Four neighborhood nonprofits — LCLC, Breakthrough, BUILD and New Life Centers — have formed Justice Rising: Project 77 to assign free attorneys to clients who have pending cases in the juvenile and adult courts of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Clients will be connected to services related to employment, school, trauma counseling, health care, violence prevention, substance use and other needs. Also pictured are (from left) Andres Alvear, chief program officer at BUILD, and Cliff Nellis, LCLC executive director. — Photo by Lindsey Tollefson

Nordic Law Club holds annual meeting

The Nordic Law Club hosted its annual meeting and summer cocktail party at The Cliff Dwellers this summer. Pictured from left are Dave Hirschey, Mary Griffin, Becky Dahlgren, club president Lynne Ostfeld, Judge Diane Larsen (ret.) and Scott Alsterda. The club will not hold its Probate Night Dinner this year because of pandemic safety measures. — Photo: Mark Dobrzycki

Kelley Drye wraps office redesign project

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP completed a yearlong redesign of its office space at 333 W. Wacker Drive. Among the changes: Work stations have more space, flexible Plexiglas walls, better lighting and adjustable seated-standing desks. “Our key goal … was to create a modern, collaborative and functional office setting” that supports the well-being of attorneys and staff, said Matthew C. Luzadder, Chicago office managing partner. — Photo courtesy of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

AABAR hosts outdoor yoga program

The Arab American Bar Association of Illinois hosted Yoga in the Park: A Physical and Mental Health Initiative on Saturday at D'Angelo Park in the Loop. Attendees included Wesam Shahed, Cook County assistant state’s attorney, from left; attorney Nura Yanaki; Marvet Sweis Drnovsek, attorney at MSD Injury Lawyers and president of the AABAR, and Robert Fakhouri, attorney at The Fakhouri Firm. — Photo courtesy of The Arab American Bar Association of Illinois

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