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Rita Garman May Be Next Chief Justice

Mon, 09 Sep 2013 07:56:14 CDT

The three-year term of Illinois Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride expires in October. That means the Illinois Supreme Court could announce its new leader as early as next week, when the justices meet for their September term. Indications are the court will name Justice Rita Garman to be Illinois' top judge. In Illinois, the chief justice is elected by the seven members of the court. The justices have yet to make an announcement, but there have been hints. Earlier this year, Garman posed for photographs alone at the center of the court's bench in Springfield. Then the Chicago and Women's bar associations separately announced receptions in honor of the new chief justice ... Rita Garman. A court spokesman says current Chief Justice Kilbride's term isn't up until Oct. 25; he says an announcement could come soon.
Garman has been on the Supreme Court since 2002. She joined the Illinois bar in 1968, at a time when women were not exactly embraced in the legal profession. Earlier this year, Rita Garman recalled how hard it was to get a job back then:

"When I would interview, they would say things to me like, 'Well what would we do with you? Nobody wants to talk to a woman lawyer."

Garman was speaking after the death of her colleague Mary Ann McMorrow, who was the first woman to serve as the chief justice of Illinois. Garman would be the second.

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