Throughout her many years in public service, Justice Anne M. Burke of the Illinois Supreme Court's First District has provided a voice for society's most fragile citizens - especially children. She was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court on July 6, 2006 after serving 11 years as a Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court. Her judicial career began in 1987 when she was appointed the first woman Justice of the Illinois Court of Claims.
Before becoming a member of the judiciary, Justice Burke was a leading advocate on behalf of Chicago's most vulnerable young people. She began as a physical education teacher with the Chicago Park District, working with mentally disabled children. Out of that experience, she founded the Chicago Special Olympics in 1968 and later served as a director of that organization as it grew to become the International Special Olympics, which now operates in more than 160 countries.
Following her graduation from Chicago-Kent College of Law, Anne began a neighborhood law practice that included representing the interests of children and families involving issues of neglect, abuse, delinquency and parental custody. Her diverse practice also included civil and criminal trial work.
Prior to becoming a Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, Justice Burke led a successful effort to reshape and improve the Illinois juvenile justice system. After a series of shocking scandals involving the state's child welfare programs, Governor Jim Edgar appointed her Special Counsel for Child Welfare Services and a member of his Legislative Committee on Juvenile Justice. Later, following revelations of the nationwide clergy abuse scandal, Justice Burke served for two years as Interim Chair of the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, investigating abuse by clergy and helping to establish guidelines and policies for its prevention.
Justice Burke has served on the board of Rush Medical Center, DePaul University, the Chicago Bar Association, Loyola University, the Chicago Public Library, St. Xavier University, Persons with Disabilities Fund of the Chicago Community Trust, River North Dance Company, the Lincoln Park Zoological Society, and the St. Rose School for the Mentally Disabled. She was president of Special Children's Charities and the Caritas Foundation. In recognition of her many achievements, Justice Burke has received honorary degrees from Aurora University, the Catholic Theological Union, the College of the Holy Cross, DePaul University and St. Ambrose University.
Justice Burke and her husband, Alderman Ed Burke, have five children: Jennifer, Eddie, Sarah, the late Emmett, and Travis. They live on Chicago's Southwest Side and attend St. Simon The Apostle Church.