Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman will take over as chief justice next week.
An installation ceremony will take place Monday at the Vermilion County Courthouse in Danville, where Garman began her judicial career nearly four decades ago.
Attendance at the ceremony is by invitation only due to space and security considerations, according to a news release from the court.
Garman will succeed Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride and become the second woman in the state’s history to sit in the center seat behind the high court bench.
As chief justice, a role that comes with a three-year term, Garman will act as the administrative officer for the state’s judicial system. She will also control and schedule the court’s agenda and serve as chairperson of the Illinois Judicial Conference’s executive committee, among other duties.
In the court’s release, Garman said she is “honored and humbled” that her colleagues chose her to serve as chief justice.
"This office has been held by many great jurists, several of whom I have served with and count among my friends,” she said. “I welcome the challenges and the responsibility that go with the role of Chief Justice because I know that I can count on the support of my colleagues at all levels of the judiciary and the members of the Illinois bar."
Kilbride said last month that he is privileged to have Garman as his successor.
“I have served with Rita Garman for nearly my entire tenure on the Illinois Supreme Court,” he said. “We have not only worked together as colleagues, but she has become a dear friend. She has an extraordinary combination of intellect, temperament, and experience that will serve well our Court, our judiciary and our state.
Garman has served in the judiciary longer than all but one of the state’s 950-plus judges and is the longest serving female judge in the state, according to the court’s release. She will celebrate her 40th anniversary as a judge in January.
She joined the judiciary at the age of 30 in 1974 as an associate judge in Danville. She went on to become a circuit judge, presiding circuit judge, appellate court justice and presiding appellate court justice before being appointed to the Supreme Court in 2001.
Prior to becoming a judge, Garman worked at the Vermilion County Legal Aid Society, the Vermilion County State’s Attorney’s Office and in private practice in Danville.