The College Republicans of SIUE invited Appellate Court Judge Justice David Overstreet to SIUE on April 15 to inspire future lawyers, attorneys and judges by talking about his journey to become a judge.
Overstreet spoke about his career as a circuit judge and how he was fortunate to win counties during his race as the judge of the Illinois 5th District Appellate Court.
“What I talked about tonight, besides serving on the bench, was the political process, the court, the law and my experiences with the last election,” Overstreet said. “What happened ultimately in my race is I had the good fortune of out of 37 counties; I won 34 of them, including Madison county.”
Overstreet currently serves on the Illinois Judicial Conference, the Illinois Judicial College Committee on Judicial Education and the Supreme Court Judicial Mentoring Committee and is co-chair of the Family Law Track at the upcoming Judicial Education Conference in 2020.
Junior political science major and president of College Republicans Myles Nelson, of Collinsville, Illinois, said he invited Overstreet to speak because of his achievements.
“I thought that it would be really beneficial for, not just political science majors, but [also] pre-law students to hear from someone who has walked the walk and accomplished what [Overstreet] has accomplished,” Nelson said. “I thought that his experience and what he’s been through would help students in their future career choices.”
Overstreet said being a circuit judge has given him the opportunity to preside over a multitude of cases.
“I started serving as a circuit judge in 2007 — served in 12 counties each as second judicial circuit — as a circuit judge, you hear every type of case such as criminal, civil and juvenile,” Overstreet said. “The great thing about being a circuit judge in a more rural area is the opportunity to hear a case and every type of case imaginable.”
Senior political science and pre-law major Jennifer Walker, of O’Fallon, Illinois, and a member of the Pre-Law Association, said she respects the hard work Overstreet has put into his career.
“It takes a lot of dedication, and it’s hard to go through the election process,” Walker said. “You can get a lot of backlash in the community and you’re judged from every angle. He has also gone to law school and [through] the whole legal process, and I think it was really good to have our members come out and hear what he had to say and where he is today.”
Nelson said the College Republicans of SIUE welcome people with different beliefs to their meetings.
“You don’t have to be Republican come and hear what we have to say, and if you disagree with us, we love healthy, civil conversations about our differences, so we welcome all students, not just Republicans.”