Illinois Supreme Court
Judicial Selection Method: Election (Partisan)
7 Justices
10 year terms
State High Court Judicial Selection Process Legal Authority

  • In a partisan primary election, the candidate who receives the highest number of votes is placed on the ballot for the general election.
  • If there is a tie, the election authority chooses the candidate by lot.
  • The candidate who receives the highest number of votes in the a district-wide general election is elected to the Illinois Supreme Court.
  • Three Justices must be from the First District (Cook County) and one Justice must be from each of the other four districts.
  • At the end of a Justice’s term, a retention election is held, at least 60% of the vote is required for retention.

Interim Vacancies

  • A vacancy occurring in the office of Supreme, Appellate or Circuit Judge shall be filled as the General Assembly may provide by law. In the absence of a law, vacancies may be filled by appointment by the Supreme Court.
  • A person appointed to fill a vacancy 60 or more days prior to the next primary election to nominate Judges shall serve until the vacancy is filled for a term at the next general or judicial election. A person appointed to fill a vacancy less than 60 days prior to the next primary election to nominate. Judges shall serve until the vacancy is filled at the second general or judicial election following such appointment.

    Docket Watch

  • A Recent History of Medical Malpractice and Civil Justice Reform in Illinois: The Five Year Wait for the Supreme Court to Decide the Fate of Reform in LEBRON V. GOTTLIEB MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

    Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled on the validity of the bipartisan Medical Malpractice Reform Act of 2005.1 The last effort to enact civil justice reform occurred in 1995 when a Republican majority controlled the Illinois General Assembly and the Governorship. That General Assembly promulgated several civil reforms and bundled a hard cap on noneconomic damages inside a larger omnibus bill. At the time, the Illinois civil justice reforms were considered the most comprehensive tort reform to be enacted by any state legislature. A Cook County trial judge ruled the legislation unconstitutional almost immediately after its effective date. On appeal from Cook County, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in Best v. Taylor Machine Works2 that the caps on noneconomic damages were an infringement of the separation of powers and the bar on “special legislation” and struck the entire tort reform package. In doing so, the supreme court considered a severability clause meant to preserve the other tort reforms in the legislation and determined that the parts that were unconstitutional could not be severed from those remaining.

  • Judicial Election

    Judges are elected by popular vote.
  • Democratic Appointment

    Judges are appointed directly by a democratic body, or appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of some democratic body.