Supreme Court of Illinois

Coordinates: 39°47′53″N 89°39′10″W / 39.797928°N 89.652724°W / 39.797928; -89.652724
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Illinois Supreme Court
Seal of the Supreme Court of Illinois
39°47′53″N 89°39′10″W / 39.797928°N 89.652724°W / 39.797928; -89.652724
Established1818 (1818)[1]
LocationSpringfield, Illinois
Coordinates39°47′53″N 89°39′10″W / 39.797928°N 89.652724°W / 39.797928; -89.652724
MottoLatin: Audi Alteram Partem
Hear the other side
Composition methodPartisan election
Authorized byIllinois Constitution
Appeals toSupreme Court of the United States
Judge term length10 years
Number of positions7
WebsiteOfficial website
Chief Justice
CurrentlyMary Jane Theis
SinceOctober 26, 2022 (2022-10-26)

The Supreme Court of Illinois is the state supreme court, the highest court of the judiciary of Illinois. The court's authority is granted in Article VI of the current Illinois Constitution, which provides for seven justices elected from the five appellate judicial districts of the state: three justices from the First District (Cook County) and one from each of the other four districts. Absent mid-term vacancy, each justice is elected for a term of ten years, which may be renewed[2] and the chief justice is elected by the court from its members for a three-year term.


The court has limited original jurisdiction and has final appellate jurisdiction. It has jurisdiction in cases where the constitutionality of laws has been called into question, and discretionary jurisdiction from the Illinois Appellate Court. Until 2011, when Illinois abolished the death penalty, it had mandatory jurisdiction in capital cases. Along with the state legislature, the court promulgates rules for all state courts. Also, its members have the authority to elevate trial judges to the appellate court on a temporary basis.[3] The court administers professional discipline through the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee and it governs initial licensing through the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar.

For publication of its decisions and rulings, the official law report of the Illinois Supreme Court is Illinois Reports.


Illinois supreme court districts map since 2021

The Illinois Supreme Court is separated into 5 districts, with one Justice elected from each except the 1st, which elects three Justices. The districts are separated along county lines.

These districts were first established in 1963 and had not been updated in nearly sixty years, despite the Illinois Constitution's requirement that the four districts outside the 1st District (Cook County) have "substantially equal population". As of 2018 Census estimates, the populations of the old districts before the 2021 redistricting were: 1st District: 5,194,000; 2nd District: 3,189,000; 3rd District: 1,805,000; 4th District 1,320,000; 5th District: 1,321,000. In comparison, the 2020 Census reports the populations of the current districts as: 1st District: 5,275,541; 2nd District: 1,773,382; 3rd District: 1,959,246; 4th District 2,086,825; 5th District: 1,717,514. The state legislature redrew districts in 2021 to take effect in the 2022 elections, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker signed these changes into law.[4]

Below are the counties per district based on the 2021 redistricting. Only the first district has remained entirely the same.

1st district[edit]

2nd district[edit]

3rd district[edit]

4th district[edit]

5th district[edit]

Qualifications and elections[edit]

Illinois Supreme Court, Springfield, Illinois

Justices are required to be U.S. citizens, members of the state bar, and resident in the district from which they are elected or appointed. Justices run in a general election for a 10-year term. At the end of the initial term, they may run in a non-partisan retention election where they must receive 60% of the vote to be retained for continuing terms of ten years. When a vacancy occurs mid-term, the Supreme Court itself appoints a new justice. The appointed justice must run in the next partisan election (including primaries) that is more than 60 days from their appointment for a 10-year term to hold the seat. The court elects the chief justice from among its members for a three-year term.[5]


While the justices of many states' supreme courts are expected to relocate to the state capital for the duration of their terms of office, the justices of the Illinois Supreme Court continue to reside in their home constituencies and have chambers in their respective appellate districts (for example, the three First District justices are chambered in the Michael Bilandic Building in Chicago). The justices travel to Springfield to hear oral arguments and deliberate. Accordingly, the Illinois Supreme courthouse building includes apartments for the justices' use while in Springfield.

Current justices[edit]

District Justice Born Joined Term ends Party affiliation Law school
1st Mary Jane Theis, Chief Justice (1949-02-27) February 27, 1949 (age 74) October 26, 2010 (as Associate Justice)
October 26, 2022 (as Chief Justice)
2032 Democratic USF
P. Scott Neville Jr. 1948 or 1949 (age 74–75) June 15, 2018 2030 Democratic WashU
Joy Cunningham 1951 or 1952 (age 71–72) December 1, 2022 2024 Democratic John Marshall
2nd Elizabeth Rochford 1960 or 1961 (age 62–63) December 5, 2022 2032 Democratic Loyola
3rd Mary Kay O'Brien (1965-06-04) June 4, 1965 (age 58) December 5, 2022 2032 Democratic Illinois
4th Lisa Holder White 1967 or 1968 (age 55–56) July 8, 2022 2024 Republican Illinois
5th David K. Overstreet (1966-01-14) January 14, 1966 (age 57) December 7, 2020 2030 Republican Tennessee

Previous justices[edit]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Judicial System". Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  2. ^ "Courts in Illinois". Illinois Supreme Court.
  3. ^ Appellate Court Act (705 ILCS 25/1(d)). Retrieved 2010-04-07.
  4. ^ MANSUR, SARAH (2021-05-25). "Dems release proposal for new Supreme Court district maps". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2021-06-01.
  5. ^ "Supreme Court of Illinois Decisions". Justia Law. Retrieved 2022-07-17.


  • List of Supreme Court Justices from Supreme Court's website
  • Scammon, J. Young (1841). Illinois Reports v. 1 (2 ed.). Chicago: Gale & Burley.
  • Gilman, Charles; Russell H. Curtis (1886). Illinois Reports v. 10. Chicago: Callaghan & Co.
  • Peck, E. (1856). Illinois Reports v. 16. Chicago: D. B. Cooke & Co.
  • Peck, E. (1869). Illinois Reports v. 16 (2 ed.). St. Louis: W. J. Gilbert.
  • Peck, E. (1858). Illinois Reports v. 19. Chicago: D. B. Cooke & Co.
  • Ewell, Marshall D. Illinois Reports v. 33.
  • Freeman, Norman L. (1866). Illinois Reports v. 44. Callaghan & Co.

External links[edit]