Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke reflects on her career on last day on bench

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Chief Justice Anne Burke reflects on career as she retires
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Chief Justice Anne M. Burke spoke out about her career as she retires from the Illinois Supreme Court.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Wednesday was the last official day for Chief Justice Anne M. Burke at the Illinois Supreme Court.

"It's pretty overwhelming actually," Burke said.

Burke has been on the Illinois Supreme Court for 16 years, the last three as Chief. And after more than 30 years as a judge, she is retiring.

READ MORE | Chief Justice Anne Burke announces retirement from Illinois Supreme Court

"For someone who is dyslexic and dropped out of college and didn't go back until I was married and had kids, I can't believe the opportunities that I've had," Burke said.

Burke says work to make the courts more accessible and equitable is on the right track but more needs to be done.

"You just have to sit in the same room and work it out and we've done that a lot, but some people want to go back to the way it used to be," she said. "But that's just not going to be. That's not life. You just do what you have to do in the present and go forward."

Burke's husband, Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, also announced plans to retire. She would not comment on the indictment he faces.

READ MORE | Ald. Ed Burke praised, criticized for legacy on Chicago City Council

Outside of this office, Burke led the watchdog panel at the height of the Catholic Church priest scandal and she organized the first Chicago Special Olympics in 1968. Packing up today, she commented on the changing face of the court.

"Now there's going to be five women," she said. "I think that's pretty interesting and I think a lot more will get done."

The mother and grandmother of nine says she will continue some of her philanthropic work and urges other to focus on what they can do - not their limitations.

"Your gifts should be shared with others and I think that's how we should think about our neighbors and our friends," she said.

Burke also plans to audit a philosophy class at DePaul this spring.