Hail to the chief

Hail to the chief

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita Garman has reached the pinnacle of her career.

Monday was a signature event in the life of Rita Garman and her home county of Vermilion.

The longtime jurist was sworn in as the latest chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, and she had the pleasure of doing so at the Vermilion County Courthouse in Danville in front of family and friends.

Garman described the event as "among the most gratifying and uplifting in my life."

In addition to the obvious satisfaction Garman takes over her elevation to this important post, it's also a source of pride for Vermilion County. There are 102 counties in Illinois, and only one at a time can claim to be the home of the state's chief justice.

While residents of large counties may be blase about such an honor, people in small counties like Vermilion are especially excited to be accorded such an honor, particularly those who remember Garman when she was a young lawyer just starting out.

In her new role as the chief justice, Garman will lead the seven-member court in matters large and small. Just one example of the chief's influence is that her predecessor, now former Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride, laid the groundwork for an ongoing experiment in allowing cameras in the state's trial courts.

Garman has stated that there are important issues she will pursue. That is for the future.

It's what Garman has done in the past that led to her new post. The second-longest-serving judge in Illinois, she became an associate judge at age 30 and worked her way up from the trial courts to the state appellate court and now to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Along the way, Chief Justice Garman has shown herself to be a hard worker and a thoughtful judge. She's also one tough cookie, a quality that always comes in handy in the courtroom.

So congratulations are due to the state's newest chief justice. She'll serve a three-year term in this new post, and we're confident that her tenure will be a personal success that serves the public's interest in an effective, efficient judicial system.

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