il s courtThe verdict is in, and it is a win for women all across Illinois. For the first time in its history, the state’s highest court is made up of a majority of female judges. Not only that, but it is a super-majority with a five to two margin. The majority was made when Justices Elizabeth Rochford and Mary Kay O’Brien were sworn in on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. The two women were both elected to the Supreme Court in November. Justice Joy V. Cunningham, who was appointed to replace retiring Chief Justice Anne M. Burke, also joins the female justices.

The three new female justices join two other women on the Supreme Court, Justice Lisa Holder White and Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis. Lisa Holder White was the first Black woman on the Illinois Supreme Court and Cunningham will become the second. Cunningham’s appointment will bring the Supreme Court to three Black Justices total. This group of historic women are making leaps and bounds at breaking glass ceilings not only for women, but for the Black community as well.

Chief Justice Theis was quoted saying, “To say I was the only woman in the room is absolutely true for a very long time in my career, even when I went on the bench. There were very, very few women. But there were some. And as we moved along, there were many more behind me.”

More women are sure to follow in their footsteps, and Illinois’ history will be all the better for it.