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Details | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts

A Message from the Chief Justice


October 28, 2019

For those of you who may not know me, allow me to introduce myself. I am Chief Justice Anne M. Burke and I have served as a Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court for the past 13 years. At the Court’s September 2019 Term, my colleagues elected me to the office of Chief Justice to succeed Lloyd A. Karmeier, whose tenure as Chief Justice ended on Oct. 25, 2019. On October 26, 2019, my three-year term as Chief Justice commenced and I became the third woman to hold the position of Chief Justice, following the late Mary Ann McMorrow and current Justice Rita B. Garman.

Prior to joining the Supreme Court, I served as a Justice of the Appellate Court, First District, for nearly 12 years, from 1995 until 2006. My judicial career, however, first began in 1987, when Gov. Jim Thompson appointed me to the Illinois Court of Claims. I was later re-appointed to that position by Gov. Jim Edgar.

Before my judicial career began, I was appointed by Gov. Jim Edgar to the position of Special Counsel for Child Welfare Services. Gov. Edgar also selected me to be a member of his Legislative Committee on Juvenile Justice.

Long before I even dreamt of going to law school or having a legal career, I was a physical education teacher at the Chicago Park District. There I agreed to take part in a new program that offered children and young adults with mental and physical differences the opportunity to learn the skills to participate in sports. As their teacher, I was able to see the positive impact that sports competition had on my students. Consequently, I proposed the idea of holding a city-wide sports competition. This idea ultimately led to the creation of the first Chicago Special Olympics in 1968, and later grew to become the International Special Olympics, reaching tens of millions in 192 nations across the globe.

In 1968, the same year that the first Chicago Special Olympics Games were held, I was married. I am the mother of five children and the grandmother of nine.

As Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, it will be my privilege and pleasure to connect with you regularly in this e-newsletter, Illinois Courts Connect. It is my intention to dedicate this space in the months ahead to highlight some of the important events and happenings taking place in the judicial system throughout the State and to introduce you to some of the people who are making a difference in the administration of justice within their districts. I would also like to extend an invitation to the readers of this e-newsletter – please feel free to contact me if you would like to suggest a topic for discussion or recommend someone to be recognized.

A key initiative during my term of office will be a “Listening Tour,” which will be hosted by the Illinois State Bar Association. ISBA President David B. Sosin and others will join me in traveling to various judicial districts throughout Illinois to conduct forums where local stakeholders can engage in dialogue about the process by which justice is administered within their districts and across the State. The Listening Tour will focus on the recently released Strategic Agenda, as well as foster discussion and the exchange of ideas about ways our system of justice might operate more efficiently.

The Listening Tour is expected to kick off in early 2020 and additional details will be available at that time. I look forward to being able to share with you our experiences as we take to the road on this tour.

Finally, I want to thank my colleagues for giving me the honor of serving the great State of Illinois as its 121st Chief Justice. I also congratulate Justice Karmeier on his productive and successful term as Chief and I look forward to working with him and all our justice partners to build on that momentum over the next three years.