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Anne Burke ‘humbled and honored’ to become chief justice of Illinois Supreme Court

Burke, the wife of indicted 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke, has served on the court since 2006 and was selected by the other justices to serve as the leading justice. The position rotates among the justices based on seniority.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke
Sun-Times file photo

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke will become the next chief justice of the state’s highest court.

Burke, the wife of indicted 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke, has served on the court since 2006 and was selected by the other justices to serve as the leading justice. The position rotates among the justices based on seniority and Burke will begin her three-year term as chief justice on Oct. 26.

In a statement, Justice Burke said she’s “humbled and honored that my colleagues have chosen me to be the next Chief Justice.”

“I will do my very best to live up to the high standards set by those who have preceded me and look forward to working with members of the judiciary, court employees and the Illinois bar to make the judicial system the very best that it can be,” her statement continued.

As chief justice, Anne Burke will be the chief administrative officer of the statewide judicial system. That job includes scheduling the Supreme Court’s agenda for consideration in conference by the Court during its five formal terms each year, serving as chairperson to the constitutionally-mandated Illinois Judicial Conference and presenting the court’s annual budget request to the General Assembly, according to a statement from a spokesman for the courts.

Anne Burke joined the state’s top court in 2006, when Justice Mary Ann McMorrow simultaneously announced both her retirement and the surprise news that the justices had already ratified then Illinois Appellate Justice Anne Burke as her replacement.

Two years later, Burke ran for the seat with no opposition. Earlier, she received the endorsement of the Cook County Democratic Party. Her husband was then chairman of the party’s subcommittee on judicial slate-making, but he recused himself from the slating of his wife.

She won her first 10-year term in 2008 and another in 2018; she represents the first district, which covers Cook County.

Her husband’s legal troubles have mired her in some controversy as well. In February, days before the election, political consultant Jeffrey Orr, the son of former Cook County Clerk David Orr, filed a complaint with the state’s Judicial Inquiry Board about Justice Burke’s alleged role in a fundraiser for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

In June, Justice Burke drew the ire of Latino and black aldermen for picking Cara Smith, who then worked for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, to replace a retiring black judge in a 7th subcircuit that includes much of the West Side.