Judge Rena (Rose) Marie Van Tine

Indian American Rena Marie Van Tine is a well-connected jurist, protege of Chief Judge Donald P. O’Connell who was known for his patronage hiring practices.

Rena Marie Van Tine was appointed and sworn as a judge  on June 12, 2001.  Van Tine  has been selected as an associate judge on the bench of the Cook county circuit court in Illinois, after she lost her 1996 judicial election. However, Van Tine considers her selection as a judge a natural extension of her career in public service. 

1995 lost


In 1995 Van Tine’s  election campaign Chairman was her well-connected  husband,  lawyer Matthew Van Tine from Miller Law Group, LLC who specializes on personal injury and class action cases; pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, commodities and securities; and often appeal in Law Division of Cook County Court where Judge Rena Marie Van Tine is currently presiding.  Matthew Van Tine is a member of Chicago and American Bar Associations; American Inns of Court; Asian American Bar Association. Her father is a retired physician.


1995 election

Surprisingly, IL Board of Elections has absolutely no records for any Rena (Rose) Van Tine elections at all.

no results

Ballotpedia.org also has minimal information about public officer, Judge Rena Marie Van Tine,  to share it with IL public who are ENTITLED to know who are their Judges and how they obtained positions of public trust to collect taxpayers-funded paycheck.


Despite her lack of public elections materials, Van Tine was one of very rare Judges whom Senator Durbin (who in March 2018 supported Michael Madigan ‘ bid for re-election), personally congratulated  with her  appointment to the bench.

According to Senator  Durbin, ” I rise to recognize and  congratulate Rena Marie Van Tine of Chicago on her recent appointment  as an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. When she  was sworn in on June 12, 2001, Ms. Van Tine became not only the first  judge in Illinois of South Asian heritage, but the first female Indian American judge in the Nation. [.] I applaud Chief Judge Donald P. O’Connell and other Circuit  Judges of Cook County for electing this outstanding lawyer to join them
on the bench.

Worth to mention, in  1995 Cook County Circuit Chief Judge Donald P. O’Connell and two of his assistants are targets of a $1 million federal lawsuit  brought by a 10-year employee of the court who was fired in July. 925 F. Supp. 1331 (1996)

Annmarie Milazzo, who lost her job as human resources administrator for the office of the chief judge, alleges she was fired because she didn’t have political sponsorship. Her lawyer, John M. Beal, said he can prove that “dozens of people were hired based on their political sponsorship” since O’Connell was named chief judge less than a year ago.

Before taking any personnel action, defendant O’Connell, with frequent assistance of defendants Catuara and Kostopulos, determined who the political sponsor of an employee was, and made all personnel decisions based predominantly on that consideration,” the suit says. Milazzo had no such sponsorship. Patronage hiring is a violation of federal civil rights laws, she maintained.

Milazzo says in the lawsuit that O’Connell had made a number of changes in the human resources department during his first six months on the job, and that he was very interested in the political sponsorship of prospective employees for summer jobs. In July, according to the suit, Catuara told Milazzo she would be transferred to another job at another department, and would have to take a $14,000 pay cut. Milazzo said she would accept the job under protest, and hired an attorney. She was subsequently fired. Milazzo says she was fired in retaliation for consulting a lawyer. She’s seeking compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.” Federal Judge Castillo denied Judge O’Connell’ motion to Dismiss Count II,  Patronage Hiring.

Rena Marie Van Tine most definitely met  Chief Judge Donald P. O’Connell hiring criteria and had a plentiful political sponsorship. Worth to mention, Judge O’Connell selected Van Tine in 1997; but for reason she was sworn as a judge only in 2001.

Before her APPOINTMENT to the bench in 2001, she most recently served
as Special Counsel to Illinois State Comptroller Daniel W. Hynes, in a
position where she oversaw the regulation of approximately one billion
dollars in Illinois consumer trust funds entrusted pursuant to the laws
governing the cemetery and funeral industries.

Prior to joining the Comptroller’s Office, Judge Van Tine was a Cook
County Assistant State’s Attorney for 12 years.

In addition to her public service positions, Judge Van Tine has been
active with voluntary bar activities. A past president of the Asian
American Bar Association and a former executive committee member of the
Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, she is currently
on the board of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, and is a
founding member of the Chicago chapter of the Indian-American Bar

Judge Van Tine has been married for 13 years to  Matthew Van Tine, an attorney specializing in commercial and antitrust  litigation. They have a young daughter named Kristen. As the senior Senator of the State of Illinois, I ask my colleagues
to join me on the occasion of her appointment to the bench in  congratulating Rena Marie Van Tine for all of her  accomplishments.” Durbin said.

Van Tine, was born in Bangalore, is now special counsel to Illinois State Comptroller Dan Hynes. From 1987 to 1999, she was an assistant state attorney in the Cook county state attorney’s office. She did her BA from Oakland University, Michigan, and her JD from the New York Law School.

Van Tine  also represented the Cook county hospital and government hospitals in medical litigation.

Van Tine considers her selection as a judge a natural extension of her career in public service. “I like people and I feel I can make a difference,” she said. Like most associate judges, she would probably start with serving in the traffic court, she said.

Associate judges, who receive an annual salary of $123,182, are assigned many of the same duties as publicly elected circuit court judges, although they must receive special clearance to handle felony cases. Van Tine lives in Chicago with her husband, Matthew, who is an attorney, and her four-year-old daughter, Cristen.

Her father is a retired physician and her mother was dean of library services at Oakland University. Her hobbies include biking, running and swimming. “Before my daughter was born, I used to participate in triathlons every summer,” she said.

Worth to mention, Van Tine was selected by Judge

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