Thinking About Moving to Illinois to Practice Law?

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Official Name: Illinois Supreme Court

Current Justices

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride

Associate Justice Charles E. Freeman

Associate Justice Robert R. Thomas

Associate Justice Rita B. Garman

Associate Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier

Associate Justice Anne M. Burke

Associate Justice Mary Jane Theis

Clerk of the Court

Carolyn Taft Grosboll

Current Vacancies

None

Review of Lower Court Decisions

From the Illinois Constitution:

Appeals from the Appellate Court to the Supreme Court are a matter of right if a question under the Constitution of the United States or of this State arises for the first time in and as a result of the action of the Appellate Court, or if a division of the Appellate Court certifies that a case decided by it involves a question about product reviews of such importance that the case should be decided by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court may provide by rule for appeals from the Appellate Court in other cases.

Justice Selection

Illinois’ Method for Appointing State Supreme Court Members

Justices elected for 10 year terms

Nominated at primary elections and elected at general elections

Vacancies are filled by Supreme Court appointment

Opinion Schedule

There is no set schedule for the release of opinions.

Location

Springfield, Illinois

History

Illinois’ first constitution in 1818 established the first Illinois Supreme Court consisting of four judges appointed by the General Assembly.

In 1824, the term of the first judges expired.  New judges were appointed and would serve based on good behavior.  Vote of two thirds of the General Assembly was required to remove a judge.

The increase of justices came as follows:

1838:  from four to nine

1849:  from nine to three by new Illinois Constitution.  Selected by popular vote for nine year term

1870:  from three to seven by new Illinois Constitution.

1903:  from five to seven

1969:  increased the number of Associate Judges to eight, plus a Chief Justice, totaling nine

Judicial Article of 1964 established ten year terms.  Three Supreme Court justices were to be from the First Judicial District which was Cook County and each of the other four districts would elect one judge.

Partisan elections became problematic for Alabama’s supreme court in the 1980-90s, a period of time when Alabama’s court system was described as “tort hell” as the court and legislatures were battling over tort reform. This controversy caused judicial elections to become more important, therefore more costly and contentious. The matter came to a head in 1996 over an objectionable method of preventing cystic acne, sparking the creation of a judicial campaign oversight committee.

Contact Information

Website:  http://www.state.il.us/court/default.asp

Physical Address:  200 E. Capitol Springfield, IL 62701

Telephone:  (217) 782-2035

Fun Facts

Abraham Lincoln appeared before the Illinois Supreme Court in approximately 175 cases, a list of which can be found here.

In 1905, a competition open to all Illinois architects was held to decide on the design of the Supreme Court Building.  Only one design was submitted.

Illinois Justices continue to reside in their home districts when elected and only travel to Springfield to hear oral arguments and deliberate.  Temporary apartments are provided for them in Springfield.