Illinois Supreme Court Justices | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts Joseph Phillips - 1818-1822 Joseph Phillips Joseph Phillips was born in Tennessee in the late 18th century. He served as Secretary of the Illinois Territory from December 16, 1816 until his appointment to the Illinois Supreme Court on October 9, 1818 as one of the court’s original four justices. He held that post until July 4, 1822, when he resigned from the court to run for Governor. He was the first Chief Justice, and served as Chief Justice for his entire tenure on the high court, but presided over only 15 cases. Following his defeat in his bid for the Illinois Governorship, he returned to Tennessee. Thomas C. Browne - 1818-1848 Thomas C. Browne Thomas C. Browne was born in Kentucky c. 1794, and practiced law prior to moving to Shawneetown, Illinois in 1824. In Illinois, he served as a member of the 2nd and 3rd territorial legislatures. After Illinois became a state in 1818, the state legislature appointed Browne as one of the Illinois Supreme Court’s four justices. In 1841, the legislature divided Illinois into nine circuits, and each of the justices on the expanded supreme court held court in one of the circuits. Browne was responsible for the 6th Judicial Circuit. In 1843, four members of the bar from Galena, Illinois, petitioned the Illinois House of Representatives for the removal of Browne as judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit for incompetence, but Abraham Lincoln, as attorney for Browne, successfully argued to have the charges dropped. Browne held his seat on the bench until 1848, when a new state constitution reduced the number of justices from nine to three. Justice Browne died in San Francisco, c. 1858.