Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 17, 2013, 5:30pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) -- The Illinois Supreme Court announced last week that Justice Rita Garman will be its next chief justice.

According to the court, Garman was chosen unanimously by her fellow justices to succeed Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride. His term as chief ends Oct. 25.

Garman will become the 119th chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court when she assumes the position beginning a three-year term Oct. 26.

She will become the second woman in Illinois to be chief justice and the second woman to head one of the three branches of government in the state.

According to the court, Garman has served in the judiciary longer than the more than 950 judges in the state -- except one.

Jan. 7, 2014 marks 40 years as an Illinois judge for Garman.

"I am honored and humbled to have been chosen by my colleagues to serve as chief justice," she said in a statement Thursday.

"This office has been held by many great jurists, several of whom I have served with and count among my friends. I welcome the challenges and the responsibility that go with the role of chief justice because I know that I can count on the support of my colleagues at all levels of the judiciary and the members of the Illinois Bar."

Garman has served on the Supreme Court since Feb. 1, 2001, about two months after Kilbride and former Chief Justice Robert R. Thomas were sworn in as justices following their election.

"I have served with Rita Garman for nearly my entire tenure on the Illinois Supreme Court," Kilbride said in a statement. "We have not only worked together as colleagues, but she has become a dear friend.

"She has an extraordinary combination of intellect, temperament and experience that will serve well our court, our judiciary and our state."

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Springfield, IL 62701

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