CHICAGO – Rita B. Garman will be the next chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. She was chosen unanimously to succeed Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, whose term expires on Oct. 25.
Garman will become the second woman to be Illinois' chief justice, according to a news release sent from the Supreme Court of Illinois. She first became a judge in 1974, when she became an associate judge in Danville. She will mark her 40th anniversary as a judge on Jan. 7.
"I am honored and humbled to have been chosen by my colleagues to serve as chief justice," Garman said, according to the release. "This office has been held by many great jurists, several of whom I have served with and count among my friends. I welcome the challenges and the responsibility that go with the role of chief justice because I know that I can count on the support of my colleagues at all levels of the judiciary and the members of the Illinois bar."
Garman was raised in Oswego, and she was class valedictorian at Oswego High School. She received her bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Illinois, and her juris doctor degree with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law.
She was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court on Feb. 1, 2001, joining Mary Ann McMorrow, who was the first woman to serve on the state's Supreme Court and the first woman to be its chief justice.
She was awarded a lifetime achievement award in 2007 from the Illinois Judges Association.