Thursday, July 12, 2007
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke today announced her candidacy for a full term on the state's highest court.
Burke has served as a Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court since July 6, 2006, after being selected by its members to succeed retiring Justice Mary Ann McMorrow. From 1995 until her appointment, Burke served as a Justice of the First District Appellate Court. Burke began her judicial career in 1987 when she became the first woman appointed as a judge on the Illinois Court of Claims.
"I have enjoyed the privilege of serving on the Supreme Court and I am hopeful that the voters will grant me the opportunity to continue that service," Burke said. "I can think of no greater public calling than to work for justice and fairness for the people of our state."
Attorney John B. Simon, a partner at Jenner & Block and former president of the Chicago Bar Association, will chair Burke's campaign. Named as co-chairs are: Northwestern University Law Professor and former State Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch; former U.S. Appeals Court Judge and White House Counsel Abner J. Mikva; former Illinois Appellate Court Justice R. Eugene Pincham; former Illinois Appellate Court Justice David Cerda; and senior counsel at Sidley Austin and former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow.
"I am pleased and honored that these respected leaders in the legal community have endorsed my candidacy and will serve on my steering committee," Burke said.
In addition to her 20-year career on the bench, Anne M. Burke has compiled a record of advocacy on behalf of children - especially the disabled and abused. As a young physical education teacher with the Chicago Park District, she worked in its first program for mentally disabled children. Out of that experience, she founded the Chicago Special Olympics in 1968. Later, she served as its director as it grew to become the International Special Olympics with branches in more than 160 countries.
Following her graduation from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1983, Burke began a neighborhood law practice that included representing the interests of children and families in cases involving neglect, abuse, delinquency and parental custody.
After a series of scandals in which the state failed to protect abused children, Governor Jim Edgar appointed Anne Burke to serve as Special Counsel for Child Welfare Services, where she brought significant reforms in the Cook County juvenile justice system. These included better coordination among the various governmental agencies responsible for protecting children.
For more than two years, Burke served as Interim Chair of the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, investigating the causes and effects of abuse of children by members of the clergy. Under her leadership, the Board established guidelines and policies to respond to the problem. In a final report, Burke voiced public criticism of the church hierarchy for its failure to adequately respond to the crisis.
Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Burke was appointed by its members to serve on the Illinois Courts Commission, the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice and the Board of Admissions to the Bar. She is a frequent speaker and panelist before many bar associations.
In addition to her law degree from Chicago-Kent, Burke received a B.A. in Education from DePaul University in 1976 and has been awarded a number of honorary degrees. She has served as president of Special Children's Charities and the Caritas Foundation, and as a trustee of DePaul University, Loyola University, the Chicago Public Library Foundation, St. Xavier University, Persons with Disabilities Fund, Chicago Community Trust, River North Dance Company, Lincoln Park Zoological Society and St. Rose School for the Mentally Disabled.
Justice Burke is seeking to be elected from the Supreme Court's First District, which is comprised of Cook County. She is the third woman to serve on the state's highest court. A Democrat, she will run in the primary election on February 5, 2008.