The Honorable Lisa Holder White will take the oath on Thursday, July 7th, as the newest member of the Supreme Court of Illinois, the first Black woman to sit on the state’s high court. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Rita B. Garman, who retires as the longest serving judge in Illinois.
Justice Holder White’s installation ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on July 7th
at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Due to space limitations, attendance is by invitation only. Remote viewing will be available via livestream here.
Justice Holder White will be sworn in by Justice Mary Jane Theis at a special session of court. Chief Justice Anne M. Burke will open court and Justice Michael Burke will welcome those in attendance and provide the order of ceremony. Scheduled speakers include Will County Circuit Court Judge Vincent F. Cornelius, retired 4th District Appellate Court Justice M. Carol Pope and Justice Rita B. Garman.
The appointment of Justice Holder White to the Court is effective July 8, 2022, and concludes on December 2, 2024, when the seat will be filled by the November 2024 General Election. The Supreme Court has constitutional authority to fill all judicial vacancies.
Justice Holder White earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Lewis University, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Lisa Holder White began her career as an Assistant State’s Attorney for Macon County before going into private practice while also serving as an Assistant Public Defender for Macon County.
In 2001, Holder White was sworn in as an Associate Judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, the first Black Judge in the circuit. In 2008, she became a Circuit Judge, having been appointed to the position by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill a retirement vacancy, and in 2010, was elected to the position. Justice White was sworn in on January 14, 2013, as the first Black Justice on the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District. In 2014, she was elected to the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District.
Justice Holder White previously served on and chaired the Illinois Supreme Court Judicial Conference Committee on Education, which is charged with planning and providing continuing judicial education for Illinois judges. She also previously served on and chaired the Illinois Judicial College Board of Trustees. She teaches at the bi-annual Education Conference, which all Illinois state court judges are required to attend, and previously served as an instructor for “New Judge School”. She also served on the Illinois Judicial Conference executive committee responsible for developing the Illinois Judicial Branch Strategic Agenda unveiled in October 2019.
Justice Holder White is a member of the Decatur Bar Association, the Illinois Judges Association, the Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association, the Sangamon County Bar Association, and the University of Illinois College of Law Leadership Project. She previously served on the boards of the Decatur Public Schools Foundation, the Mid-Illinois Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Community Foundation of Macon County, and Millikin University.
In April 2013, Justice White was named “Woman of the Year” at the 2013 Women of Excellence Awards, hosted by the Decatur YMCA and United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois. She has also been the recipient of a Lewis University Alumni Achievement Award, the Joe Slaw Civil Rights Award from the Decatur branch of the NAACP, the Illinois Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award, the University of Illinois College of Law Black Law Students Association's James Seaberry Award for Excellence, and the Illinois Judges Association Harold Sullivan Award.