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Meet the Justices | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts

A photo of the Supreme Court Judges


Meet the Illinois Supreme Court Justices

Anne M. Burke, Chief Justice

Anne M. Burke

 Supreme Court Chief Justice, First District

Portrait of Chief Justice Anne M. Burke

Anne M. Burke was born on Feb. 3, 1944, in Chicago. She received her B.A. degree in education from DePaul University in 1976 and her J.D. degree from IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1983.

She was admitted to the Federal Court, Northern District of Illinois, in 1983, the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in 1985, and certified for the Trial Bar, Federal District Court in 1987. In that same year, Governor James Thompson appointed her Judge to the Court of Claims and, in 1991, she was reappointed by Governor Jim Edgar.

In April 1994, she was appointed special counsel to the Governor for Child Welfare Services. In August 1995, she was appointed to the Appellate Court, First District. In 1996, she was elected to the Appellate Court, First District, for a full term.

Justice Burke is a member of the American, Illinois State, Chicago, and Women's Bar Associations, and The Illinois Judges' Association. She is married to Alderman Edward M. Burke, and they are the parents of five children, Jennifer (Jim Murphy), Edward (Jackie), the late Emmett, Sarah, and Travis, as well as nine grandchildren.

Rita B. Garman

Rita B. Garman

Supreme Court Justice Fourth District

Portrait of Rita B. Garman

Rita B. Garman was born in Aurora. She was valedictorian of Oswego High School in 1961. She received her B.S. degree in economics with highest honors from the University of Illinois in 1965, Bronze Tablet, and her J.D. degree with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1968.

She was Assistant State's Attorney in Vermilion County (1969-73), was engaged in private practice with Sebat, Swanson, Banks, Lessen & Garman (1973), and was an Associate Circuit Judge for 12 years. She was a Circuit Judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit (1986-95) and Presiding Circuit Judge (1987-95).

She was assigned to the Appellate Court, Fourth District, in July 1995, and was elected to the position in November 1996. Justice Garman was appointed to the Supreme Court on February 1, 2001, and elected to the Court on November 5, 2002. She is a member of the Vermilion County, Illinois State and Iowa Bar Associations, and the Illinois Judges' Association.

Mary Jane Theis

Mary Jane Theis

Supreme Court Justice, First District

Portrait of Mary Jane Theis

Mary Jane Theis was born in Chicago. She received her bachelor's degree from Loyola University Chicago in 1971 and her law degree from the University of San Francisco, School of Law in 1974. From 1974-83, she was an Assistant Public Defender in Cook County.

Justice Theis has served at every level of the Judiciary in the State of Illinois. In 1983 she was appointed an Associate Judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County, where she served for five years. In 1988, Justice Theis was elected to the Circuit Court, where she was assigned to both the Criminal and Chancery Divisions until 1993, when she was appointed to the Appellate Court, First District. She was elected to the Appellate Court in 1994. When Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald retired in 2010, the Supreme Court appointed Justice Theis to fill his vacancy on the Court.

In her 17 years on the Appellate Court, Justice Theis served as a Presiding Judge. She was Committee Chair of both the Committee on Judicial Education and the Committee on Judicial Conduct of the Illinois Judicial Conference, and a member of the Supreme Court Rules Committee. Justice Theis was President of the Appellate Lawyers Association and the Illinois Judges Association, as well as President and founding member of the Illinois Judges Foundation. She has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Association and is a member of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois.

Justice Theis has taught at numerous judicial education programs, as well as conferences and seminars for the ISBA and CBA, and at Loyola University School of Law, Northwestern University School of Law, and the John Marshall Law School. She has received various awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Judges Association, Catholic Lawyer of the Year from the Catholic Lawyers Guild, Celtic Lawyer of the Year from the Celtic Lawyers Society of Chicago, the Mary Heftel Hooten Award from the WBAI, and the Access to Justice Award from the ISBA. Justice Theis is the recipient of the American Constitution Society Legal Legend -  Honor from the Chicago Lawyer Chapter and the Chicago Bar Association's John Paul Stevens Award.

She is married to John T. Theis, and they have two children, Jack (Uma Amuluru) and Claire (Joshua) Merok, and seven grandchildren.

P. Scott Neville, Jr.

P. Scott Neville, Jr.

Supreme Court Justice, First District

Portrait of P. Scott Neville, Jr

Justice Neville, a graduate of Washington University's School of Law, has been actively practicing law in Illinois since 1974 when he became a law clerk for Justice Glenn T. Johnson of the Illinois Appellate Court. Thereafter, Justice Neville specialized in appellate, employment, civil rights and complex civil litigation.

Throughout his legal career, Justice Neville worked with public and private entities, including the Chicago Transit Authority. From 1977 until 1979, he was Of Counsel at Howard, Mann & Slaughter. In 1979, he became a principal with the law firm of Neville & Ward. In 1981, Neville established P. Scott Neville, Jr. & Associates, which merged with Howse, Howse, Neville & Gray in 1990. He has also been an instructor at the University of Chicago Law School in its Intensive Trial Practice Workshop.

During his career, Justice Neville used his legal skills to obtain justice for his clients. In 1992, he was a member of a team of attorneys (President Obama was one of the attorneys who worked on the case) that successfully prosecuted the 1992 Chicago Ward “ReMap”case, and a legal team that prosecuted a class action lawsuit on behalf of Black and Latino workers who were laid off by the City of Chicago.

An active member of many bar associations, Justice Neville is a life member of the National Bar Association and a member of the Cook County (CCBA) and Illinois State (ISBA) bar associations. Neville’s commitment to the Bar was most evident in 1997 when he became President of the CCBA and co-founded the Alliance of Bar Associations, a group dedicated to promoting diversity, equality and fairness in judicial evaluations. During his tenure as President of the CCBA, he also started the “In Court Referral Program,” and established the CCBA Hall of Fame.

Justice Neville has also been a member of several judicial organizations. He is a past chairperson and board member of the Illinois Judicial Council, a member of the National Bar Association’s Judicial Council, and a member of the Illinois Judges Association.

As a result of his dedication to fairness, justice and the rule of law, Justice Neville has received numerous awards and appointments. In 1999, the Chicago Bar Association presented him with the prestigious Vanguard Award, and he received a Presidential Award from the ISBA. In 2007, Washington University School of Law presented him with its Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2008 he received an award from Toastmasters International. Finally, in 2016 Justice Neville was selected as one of the Most Distinguished Men of Illinois by Continuing Academic Training Children and Youth Services and in 2017 he received the Stradford Award from Attorney Kimberly Foxx, the State’s Attorney of Cook County.

Justice Neville was appointed to the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1999 and elected in 2000. On June 11, 2004, Justice Neville was appointed to the Appellate Court. Justice Neville was elected to the Appellate Court in 2012. Justice Neville served as Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Illinois Appellate Court, First District from September 1, 2013 until August 31, 2014, is a former member of the Appellate Court's Executive Committee and has been the Presiding Justice of the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions.

Justice Neville is married to Sharon J. Neville and has two adult stepdaughters.

Michael J. Burke

Michael J. Burke

Supreme Court Justice, Second District

Portrait of Michael J. Burke

Michael J. Burke was born in Chicago on October 28, 1958. He attended St. Laurence High School, Northern Illinois University (B.S., Magna Cum Laude, 1980) and The John Marshall Law School (J.D., with highest distinction, 1984). He was an Assistant State’s Attorney in DuPage County from 1984 to 1992 and served as the Chief of the Special Prosecutions Unit for two years. Justice Burke was appointed to the bench in 1992 and served as an Associate Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit for nine years. In 1998, he received a 97.9% approved rating by the DuPage County Bar Poll, the highest rating for an Associate Judge that year.

In 2001, he was appointed as a Circuit Judge and won election in 2002 and retention in 2008. While in the Circuit Court he heard felony cases and sat as the Presiding Judge of the Misdemeanor/Traffic Division. In July 2008, Justice Burke was assigned to the Appellate Court, and in 2014 he was elected to that court. He served as Presiding Justice of the 2nd Appellate District from 2012 to 2014.

He was Committee Chair of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee and is a certified judicial performance evaluation facilitator. He was also a member of several other Illinois Supreme Court Committees including the Judicial Conference of Illinois, Study Committee on Complex Litigation, Courtroom Security Committee, and Judicial Mentor Committee and is a certified new judge mentor and certified peer judge mentor. Justice Burke has served on the faculties of the Judicial Education Conference and New Judge Seminar.

He was a former director of the Illinois Judges Foundation and is a member of the Illinois Judges Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and DuPage County Bar Association. He has published articles in the Illinois Bar Journal and DuPage County Bar Association Brief.
In March 2020, Justice Burke joined the Illinois Supreme Court when he was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Robert Thomas.

Justice Burke and his wife Mary Ann have four children and seven grandchildren.

David K. Overstreet

David K. Overstreet

Supreme Court Justice, Fifth District

Portrait of Justice David K. Overstreet

David K. Overstreet was born on January 14, 1966, in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Lipscomb University and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Tennessee. He practiced law with Miller, Tracy, Braun & Wilson, Ltd of Monticello, Illinois, from 1991 to 1992, with the Law Office of Peter G. Angelos of Knoxville, Tennessee, from 1992 to 1995, and with Mitchell, Neubauer, Shaw & Hanson, P.C., Neubauer, Hanson & Overstreet, P.C., and Neubauer & Overstreet, P.C. of Mt. Vernon, Illinois, from 1995 until his appointment to the Second Judicial Circuit Court in 2007. After being appointed to the bench, Justice Overstreet successfully ran for election in 2008 and was retained in 2014. After being assigned to the Fifth District Appellate Court in 2017, he was elected to serve on that court in 2018. Justice Overstreet was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court from the Fifth Judicial District in 2020.

Justice Overstreet serves on the Illinois Judicial Conference and is Vice-Chair of the Public Relations Task Force. He previously served on the Illinois Judicial College Committee on Judicial Education, the Supreme Court Judicial Mentoring Committee, and the Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice. He was co-chair of the Family Law Track of the Judicial Education Conference in 2020. He was formerly a faculty member of the Illinois Judicial Education Conference, as well as chair of the Second Judicial Circuit’s professionalism committee and program administrator for its lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program. Justice Overstreet is the Second Vice-President of the Illinois Judges Association for the 2021-22 term and previously served on the Illinois Judges Association Board of Directors and as an Executive Committee member. Justice Overstreet is a Past-President of the Jefferson County Bar Association. Justice Overstreet and his wife Suzanne have three children

Robert L. Carter

Robert L. Carter

Supreme Court Justice, Third District

Justice Carter of Ottawa, Illinois, has been a judge in the State of Illinois since 1979 and was assigned to the Appellate Court, Third District, on September 1, 2006. He was elected Circuit Judge in 1988 and became Chief Judge in 1993. In December 2002, Judge Carter was elected Chair of the Conference of Chief Judges and re-elected in 2003 and 2005. He holds A.B. (1968) and J.D. (1974) degrees from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and a Master of Arts (1974) in Administration from Sangamon State University. He completed a one-week course in mediation at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, in the summer of 2001.

In 1969-70, Judge Carter served in the United States Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. He was a law clerk to Justice Howard C. Ryan of the Illinois Supreme Court in 1974-1975 and engaged in the general private practice of law from 1975-79.

Since 1980, by appointment of the Illinois Supreme Court, Judge Carter has been a frequent lecturer at judicial education programs for Illinois judges on such topic areas as jury trials, evidence, contempt and domestic relations. In 2005, he taught and chaired a seminar on Judicial Administration and Management. In 1998, Judge Carter served on the Judicial Mentor Training Committee to assist in the implementation of the Illinois Supreme Court's mentoring program for new judges. Judge Carter is past president of the Illinois Judges Association and was a member of its Board of Directors. He was Chairman of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee on Family Violence issues. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a member of and past post commander of the American Legion, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a member of the Illinois and LaSalle County Bar Associations.

A lifelong resident of Illinois, Judge Carter is married to Nancy Rink Carter, an attorney, and they have two children, Mary and Matthew.