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Chief Justice Burke to step down after 16 years on court

September 12, 2022 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Anne Burke, chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, announced her retirement on Monday.

The 78-year-old jurist will end her 16-year high-court tenure on Nov. 30.

“I have been blessed to serve as a Supreme Court Justice...,” Burke said in a prepared statement. “The past three years as chief justice have been a challenging time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am thrilled with the progress made by the Illinois courts.”

The seven-member court, which has the authority to fill interim vacancies, has chosen Joy Cunningham, a justice on the First District Appellate Court, to take Burke’s place.

Cunningham will be the court’s second Black woman. The first took her oath just three months ago. Lisa Holder White was appointed to replace the retiring Rita Garman.

Burke herself replaced the first woman on the court, Mary Ann McMorrow, in 2006.

Burke will leave just weeks after the fall election, in which two seats are up for grabs and Republicans hope to gain control of the court for the first time in decades.


Burke’s husband, Edward Burke, a Chicago alderman for half a century, is scheduled to go on trial next year on federal racketeering and extortion charges. He has pleaded not guilty and denies wrongdoing.