Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman to retire, leaving opening on the court

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman
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For nearly five decades, Justice Rita Garman has been a judge in central Illinois. Effective July 7, the sitting justice of the Illinois Supreme Court will retire.

"This is the right time for me to step back from my public role and allow someone else to assume this all-important position," Garman wrote in an open letter on Monday.

Garman, who maintains offices in Danville, has served as a judge at all levels of the state court system. She first joined the bench in 1974 as a circuit court judge in Vermillion County. She was the first woman to be named a judge in her circuit and one of eight women judges in the state at the time, according to her letter.

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She was first appointed to the appellate court in 1995 and won election to her seat in 1996. In 2001, she was appointed to fill the seat on the Supreme Court in 2001 before being elected to the high court in 2002, according to the court's website.

Garman, who is a Republican, is the longest-serving judge in the state, according to her letter.

Garman represents the fourth judicial district on the court, which includes Sangamon County. The current fourth judicial district covers central Illinois and stretches across the state from east to west.

Last summer, the legislature drew and the governor approved new district maps. The fourth district, which will have a vacancy following Garman's departure, still includes Sangamon County, though is now made up of west-central and northwest Illinois.

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This is the first time that the court's maps have been changed since they were first introduced in 1964, according to the court's website.

In the short term, Garman will be replaced by a judge appointed by the state Supreme Court. Her seat will then be filled in the 2024 election cycle, according to Matt Dietrich, a spokesperson for the state board of elections.

There are two seats up for election on the state's highest court in the 2022 cycle. The partisan elections are for the Second District, which covers the northern suburbs of Chicago outside of Cook County, and Third District, which covers the southern and western suburbs outside of Cook County.

Contact Andrew Adams:; (312)-291-1417;

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman to retire this summer