The Illinois Supreme Court took center stage during the 2022 midterm elections, and Democrats were able to enhance their control of the judicial body as they won two elections for open seats.
Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Rochford defeated former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran in the second district, and Appellate Court Judge Mary K. O’Brien defeated Supreme Court Justice Michael Burke in the third district.
Those wins, along with the successful retention vote for Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis, enhanced liberal control of the court for the new term.
Here is how the court is currently set up:
Under the Supreme Court’s current configuration, Cook County is represented by three justices, all of whom are Democrats.
Mary Jane Theis was sworn in as the court’s new chief justice this week. She secured retention in the 2022 midterm elections, earning a fresh 10-year term on the court.
She is replacing Anne M. Burke as chief justice in the new term. Burke announced her retirement earlier this year, and is expected to leave the court at the end of November.
The remaining justices on the court will select her replacement, and that justice will be required to face election to a full 10-year term in the 2024 election cycle.
Justice P. Scott Neville Jr. is the third Cook County justice on the court. He was first named to the court in 2018 and was elected to a full 10-year term in 2020.
After the new redistricting was completed earlier this year, District 2 now includes McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kane and Kendall counties.
Currently, the seat on the court is occupied by Justice Michael Burke, but in the new term, Lake County circuit court Judge Elizabeth Rochford will take her seat representing the second district. She defeated former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran in the November election, and will be starting a 10-year term.
The reconfigured district now includes Bureau, LaSalle, Grundy, DuPage, Will, Kankakee and Iroquois counties.
Democrat Robert L. Carter currently represents the district, having taken his seat after Thomas Kilbride lost his retention vote in 2020, but he did not run for a full 10-year term in the midterm elections.
Appellate Court Justice Mary K. O’Brien defeated Michael Burke in the 2022 election, and will take her seat on the court in the new term.
O’Brien and Rochford’s victories ensured that liberals will hold a 5-2 majority on the court in the new term, earning an extra seat.
District 4 is significantly larger than the first three districts, including counties as far north as Jo Daviees and as far south as Macoupin. The district also includes Sangamon County, home of Springfield, and Peoria County.
Lisa Holder White currently represents the district on the court, having been appointed earlier this year to replace retired Justice Rita Garman.
White would have to run for a full 10-year term against a Democratic opponent in the 2024 election cycle.
This district comprises the southern portion of Illinois, stretching as far north as Champaign County and extending all the way down to the state’s borders with Missouri and Kentucky.
Currently the district is represented by Justice David K. Overstreet, who defeated Judy Cates in the 2020 election. He previously served as a judge at both the circuit and appellate court levels.