First Black Female Justice Takes Seat on Illinois Supreme Court

Appellate Court Justice Lisa Holder White will make history this July when she becomes the first black woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court. Holder White, who currently presides over the 4th Appellate District, will take her seat on the state’s highest court when Senior Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman retires on July 7.

Justice Holder White began her service to the courts as an Assistant State’s Attorney for Macon County. Upon leaving the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office, she went into private practice. In 2001 she was sworn in as an Associate Judge in Illinois’ Sixth Judicial Circuit in East Central Illinois, and in 2008 was appointed as a Circuit Judge to fill a vacancy. She then won election to the position in 2010. Justice Holder White was sworn in as an Appellate Justice for the Illinois Appellate Court’s Fourth District in January of 2013. She graduated magna cum laude from Lewis University and earned her Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign-Urbana.

Retiring Justice Garman will retire after a distinguished career that began more than two decades ago, when she was sworn-in to the high court in February of 2001.  Garman was the second woman to ever sit on the Illinois Supreme Court, and during her time as an Illinois Supreme Court Justice, she led the Court as its chief justice for a three-year term from October 2013 until October 2016.

Holder White’s appointed term on the Illinois Supreme Court will expire in 2024, when a full-time replacement will be elected during the November 2024 General Election.

Jason Plummer

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