The MIG Journal
Keynote Speakers at MIG 2022: David Overstreet and Mike Murphy
Speaker One: David Overstreet
The delegates, eboard, and faculty advisors were all excited to hear the words of David Overstreet, a member of the Illinois Supreme Court, on Friday, March 4. He was the first Republican Judge elected to the 2nd Circuit, which represents the most counties.
Overstreet didn't plan on getting into politics. “If I ever run for anything, it will be the school board.” He believes that in order to be a politician, you must have a love for people. He stated that the four clerks which work for him are “not aligned” with him politically, and uses this to further his argument for working together for the betterment of the people. Mr. Overstreet also spoke quite a bit about two of his Illinoisian role models, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. Below is a list of the few questions that Mr. Overstreet was asked, as well as his answers.
Q: Who or what kept your passion going?
A: Family and teachers
Q: How important do you think stara decisus is?
A: Precedents are important, but if there is a substantial reason to disregard them, do it.
Q: How is debating with other justices who have different views on the constitution?
A: Moral arguments can be helpful. We have interesting discussion.
Q: How do you encourage someone, especially a woman of color, who has never seen anyone who looks like them to run for court?
A: I think it's important for those who are in those positions to be out and about, like Justice Neville or the new Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson. We, as judiciaries and lawyers, need to take every opportunity we can to visit schools. It's so important that there are children of color who see Justice Neville seeing people who look like him in the court. It boils down to a matter of self-promotion.
Q: Do you have an agenda for the kinds of cases you take?
A: No. We have no agenda. Receive 200 petitions for leave to appeal (PLA) in a term. Usually we take five percent, last term we took 10-11 percent.
Q: How are you able to relate Lincoln to Regan?
A: They both in my view have qualities that I admire. In my personal opinion they were good people for different reasons.
Q: Lincoln defended slave owners in court. Is he really a hero?
A: Lincoln wasn't perfect, but his body of work as a whole was pretty exemplary. Lincoln didn't start out as an abolitionist. Lincoln doesn't need me to defend him. That may be disappointing to us as we look back now, but there's no question he's one of the greatest leaders we've ever had.
Q: What was the hardest case you've seen in the Supreme Court?
A: It involved law enforcement officials. It turned out that after the Attorney General wrongfully convicted someone and after they served time, the law enforcement officers may have withheld evidence during the trial. The hardest thing about being a judge is taking away someone's liberties by sentencing them, and custody of children.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is losing interest in politics?
A: Sometimes we have to take a break. Think about why they were interested originally. If you've got passion, keep with it.
Speaker Two: Mike Murphy
The third day of the MIG simulation event was full of discussion of the bills and even conflicts, but Mike Murphy’s speech seemed to stabilize everyone’s mood and the rest of the day went smoothly and positively. The participants of the MIG simulation were honored to listen to the story of the Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives, the former owner of three restaurants in Springfield, and the owner of a consulting company. Mr. Murphy told the young generation of the future civil servants, “I never considered myself being special, and soon I realized there [are] no special people, everyone is equal.” Mr. Murphy claims that if you have potential in something, you should do it no matter what others tell you to do. “Achieve the best you can be.” Mr. Murphy is the former owner of Charlie's Parker’s Diner, and he said about his experience as restaurateur that his experience in managing the restaurant helped him to learn a new profession in the political sphere, and managed to successfully defeat all his opponents and obtain his present title. One of the questions which came from the audience was whether Mr. Murphy has bills which he is proud about. He mentioned the bill which requires online sales to collect state taxes and the law of the obligatory Algebra, Mathematics, and Geometry and Practical Math subjects to become obligatory at schools. “Real friend is who tells you the truth” – that’s what he mentioned when speaking about his days when he just started working as a civil servant in the government.
By Olga Shalaeva and Tamas Dilorenzo