SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (AP) – Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman, who was scheduled to run for a third 10-year term in November, unexpectedly resigned on Monday.
The lawyer with the longest tenure in the state, appointed to the post at 31, said in a statement that he would retire on July 7.
“I’ve had a lifelong role, a privilege of serving the people of Illinois as a member of the judiciary at all levels,” the 78-year-old Harman said. “But now is the time for me to step back from my public role and allow someone else to take this important position.”
Her replacement, who will be chosen by the Supreme Court, will have a little rest before the voters. The constitution determines how quickly an appointed judge should run in the election based on the proximity of the nomination to the next primary election. With less than 60 days left before the June 28 primaries, Harman’s successor will run until the 2024 general election.
A law student at the University of Iowa, Harman, who was born in Aurora and raised in Oswego, said she was only there to “catch her husband” and should leave her so the man could take her place. After she joined the bar in 1968, she was denied several positions because law firms felt that clients would not want to speak confidentially with the woman.
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But after working as an assistant state’s attorney in Vermilion County and a full year of private practice, the Republican in 1974 was appointed an associate district judge.
Garman was appointed to the Supreme Court to fill a vacancy in 2001, and was elected in 2002, just months after the court’s first woman, Mary Ann McMore, took the hammer as chief judge and became the first woman. which headed any of the three branches of government in Illinois.
Although Harman’s retirement does not affect the current election season, voters will have several court-related decisions in the ballot boxes. Judge Mary Jane Thais, a Democrat, will seek retention for a second 10-year term.
Two other seats filled as a result of appointments in 2020 are giving voters a choice this fall.
Republican Judge Michael Burke, who replaced retired Bob Thomas, is seeking a 10-year term. He is likely to fight with State Court of Appeal Judge Mary O’Brien, the only participant in the June 28 primaries from the Democratic Party.
Voters will choose a newcomer to a seat that remains open due to the failure of former judge Thomas Kilbride in 2020. His successor, Democratic Judge Robert Carter, will resign.
District Judges Rene Cruz and Elizabeth Rochford are vying for the Democratic nomination. Republican candidates include District Judge Daniel Shanes and former District Judge John Noverini.
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