Lisa Holder White to become 1st Black woman on IL Supreme Court; longest-serving judge retires

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
1st Black woman to serve on IL Supreme Court
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Lisa Holder White will become the first Black woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court. Rita B. Garman announced her retirement Tuesday.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Fourth District Appellate Justice Lisa Holder White will become the first Black woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court.

Justice Rita B. Garman said she will retire from the Illinois Supreme Court effective July 7.

"There is no doubt that I have had the role of a lifetime, a privilege to serve the people of the state of Illinois as a member of the court system at every level," Garman said. "But this is the right time for me to step back from my public role and allow someone else to assume this all-important position. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Illinois."

Garman, 78, has served on the Supreme Court since 2001 and will retire as the longest-serving judge in Illinois. She served as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 2013 to 2016.

"No words can describe her loss," said Chief Justice Anne M. Burke. "However, she has provided hope for the future by nominating for her replacement a wonderful woman who will be able to step right into her shoes. It is a pleasure to welcome Justice Holder White to the Court."

Holder White will replace Garman this summer. Her term is effective July 8, 2022 through December 2, 2024.

"Being appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court is the honor of a lifetime. I am humbled by the confidence Justice Rita B. Garman and the entire Court have placed in me," Holder White said. "My service to the judiciary for the past 21 years has helped prepare me for this historic moment. I look forward to the privilege of resolving matters my fellow citizens bring."

Holder White was sworn in as an associate judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit in 2001, making her the first Black judge in the circuit. The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Holder White to fill a circuit judge retirement vacancy in 2008 and was elected to the position in 2010. Holder White was sworn in as the first Black justice on the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District, in 2013 and was elected to the position in 2014.