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CHICAGO - The Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday that Justice Rita B. Garman will be its next Chief Justice, continuing her remarkable and unprecedented journey to the top of the state's judiciary.

Justice Garman was chosen unanimously by her fellow justices to succeed Chief Justice Thomas L. Kil-bride, who will leave a notable legacy of achievement when his term as Chief concludes October 25. Jus-tice Garman will become the 119th Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court when she assumes the po-sition beginning a three-year term on October 26.
She will become the second woman in Illinois to be Chief Justice and the second woman to head one of the three branches of government in Illinois. Her selection as Chief Justice on the seven-member Court culminates her long service to the people of Illinois. There are more than 950 judges in Illinois, and Jus-tice Garman has served in the judiciary longer than all of them--except one.

She first wore the judicial robe in 1974 as an associate judge in Danville in the 5th Judicial Circuit, and will mark her 40th anniversary as an Illinois judge next January 7.

"I am honored and humbled to have been chosen by my colleagues to serve as Chief Justice," Justice Garman said. "This office has been held by many great jurists, several of whom I have served with and count among my friends. 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."

Justice Garman has served on the Supreme Court since February 1, 2001, about two months after Chief Justice Kilbride and former Chief Justice Robert R. Thomas were sworn in as justices following their election.

"I have served with Rita Garman for nearly my entire tenure on the Illinois Supreme Court," said Justice Kilbride. "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.

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