DANVILLE — Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman will be installed as the high court's chief justice at the Vermilion County Courthouse in Danville on Monday.
The installation ceremony is by invitation only.
Garman — a longtime Danville resident, who launched her law and judicial careers in Vermilion County — will become the court's 119 chief justice and the second woman to head one of the three branches of government in Illinois.
The Illinois Supreme Court announced in September that Garman was chosen unanimously by her fellow justices to succeed Thomas L. Kilbride as chief justice. Her three-year term officially begins on Saturday.
After graduating with highest honors from the University of Illinois, where she was a Top 10 graduate and named to the Bronze Tablet, and graduating with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1968, Garman began her legal career with the Vermilion County Legal Aid Society. She later served as a Vermilion County assistant state's attorney, trying criminal and juvenile cases, and worked in private practice in Danville.
Her judicial career began when at 30, she became a Vermilion County associate judge in 1974. She was elected a circuit judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit in 1986 and served as Vermilion County's presiding judge from 1987 to 1998.
Garman was assigned to the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District, in 1998 and elected to the appellate cvourt the next year. She was appointed to the Supreme Court on Feb. 1, 2001, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of former Chief Justice Ben Miller.
Garman was elected to the Supreme Court for a 10-year term in 2002 and retained for a second term in 2012.
In addition to being the second-longest serving judge in the Illinois judiciary and the longest-serving female judge, Garman will be the first chief justice to have served in every judicial capacity, according to the Office of the Illinois Courts.