Michael Shakman on the legacy of patronage in Chicago
May 23, 2021
In 1969, an idealistic young lawyer named Michael Shakman filed a lawsuit with the goal of breaking the stranglehold that the Democratic Organization of Cook County — the political “machine” run by Mayor Richard J. Daley — held on Chicago’s government and elections. More than a half-century later, Shakman isn’t finished yet. The Daily Line’s Alex Nitkin talked to Shakman about the history of the “Shakman decree,” how it’s transformed the way governments work in Illinois, why it’s so hard to root out Chicago’s decades-old legacy of patronage — and what it will take to end the 52-year-old federal legal case.
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