Illinois Supreme Court swears in new chief justice

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — There’s a new Chief Justice for the Illinois Supreme Court.

In a ceremony Monday, Chief Justice Ann Burke swore in Justice Mary Jane Theis to succeed her. Out of the past 122 chief justices in the state’s history, Theis is only the fourth female chief justice.

Justice Burke previously announced she is stepping down from the court at the end of month.

"May I say that all of our your colleagues, Mary Jane, pray that God will grant you, John and your entire family, good health, success and satisfaction during your tenure in office," Burke said before swearing in Theis.

Chief Justice Theis being sworn in by outgoing Justice Burke

In her speech after the ceremony, Theis said that above all else, the Illinois judiciary needs to be fair.

"The main most important indicator of whether people will accept what happens to them in court is if they’ve believed they’ve been treated fairly," Theis said. "The perception of fairness is what holds together our communities, our court system, the rule of law, and our democracy."

Two new judges were voted into the Supreme Court from northern Illinois last week, Elizabeth Rochford and Mary Kay O’Brien. This leaves a Supreme Court majority of 5-2 of judges who ran for their seat as Democrats.

Despite partisan attack ads in the judicial races for Rochford and O’Brein, Theis maintains the court will act as a non-partisan body of government.

"Here in Illinois, we’ve just come through a bruising election system, a time where over and over the people of the state of Illinois, were told that the judiciary is just another place of partisan politics, that what we do is just gamesmanship," Theis said. "I will tell you, that is not my experience, that is not the truth."



November 14, 2022 at 03:03PM

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