The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed a new Chief Justice.

According to a release, Justice Mary Jane Theis was selected for the office of Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, serving a three-year term beginning October 26, 2022. Theis succeeds Anne M. Burke, whose term ended on October 25, 2022. According to the release:

Justice Theis will be the fourth woman to serve as Chief Justice following the late Justice Mary Ann McMorrow, Justice Rita B. Garman, and Justice Burke. She will be the 122nd Chief Justice in Illinois history.

Illinois Supreme Court
Justice Mary Jane Theis (

“I would like to thank my colleagues for giving me this opportunity to serve the people of Illinois as Chief Justice,” Justice Theis said. “I also would like to congratulate Justice Burke for her successful term as Chief and her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with the bench, bar and community at large to further the Court’s mission of providing access to equal justice, ensuring judicial integrity and upholding the rule of law. Our goal continues to be increasing public trust and confidence in the courts.”

(L-R) Justice Robert L. Carter, Justice Michael J. Burke, Justice Mary Jane Theis, Justice Anne M. Burke, Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr., Justice David K. Overstreet, Justice Lisa Holder White (photo: Illinois Supreme Court)

The release says Theis was born in Chicago in 1949 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University in 1971. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1974. Theis returned to Chicago as an Assistant Public Defender in Cook County until 1983, when she was selected as a Cook County associate judge. In 1988, Theis was elected as a circuit judge and assigned to both the Criminal and Chancery Divisions. Chief Justice Theis was assigned to the First District Appellate Court in 1993 and elected to the position in 1994. The Supreme Court appointed her in 2010 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald, and she was elected to a full term on the Supreme Court in 2012. Chief Justice Theis is married to John T. Theis, and they have two children, Jack (Uma Amuluru) and Claire (Joshua) Merok and seven grandchildren.

Justice Theis will serve as the chief administrative officer of the Supreme Court, which is vested with administrative and supervisory authority over the more than 900 judges in the Illinois. judicial system. As Chief Justice, Theis will select the items to be placed on the Supreme Court’s agenda for the Court’s consideration during its constitutionally-mandated five terms each year, supervise all appointments to Supreme Court committees, serve as Chair of the Executive Committee of the constitutionally-mandated Illinois Judicial Conference and present the Court’s annual budget request to the General Assembly.