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By REBECCA ANZEL
Capitol News Illinois 

Karmeier reflects on 'privilege' of leading state's highest court

 

Last updated 11/6/2019 at 4:29pm



Lloyd Karmeier is the third Illinois Supreme Court justice from Nashville, home to about 3,200 people two hours south of Springfield.

Karmeier said “almost every one” of the cases the state’s highest court has considered over the 15 years he spent on the bench has been “interesting.” Perhaps the most important were two that established state employee pensions as an undiminishable benefit as guaranteed by the Constitution.

The 79-year-old justice tendered notice last week he will resign from the Supreme Court, effective Dec. 6, 2020. It comes after his three-year term as chief justice concluded Oct. 25.

In his letter, he wrote, “It has been a privilege serving the people of Illinois.”

During his tenure leading the court, Karmeier helped secure a 17.5 percent budget increase of about $60.5 million, the judicial branch’s first boost in six years. Court officials said the money will be used in part to reimburse costs paid by local governments for probation services.

In an effort to elevate the public profile of the judiciary, Karmeier has continued the tradition of “riding the circuit” about once per year. The seven justices travel to a different college each year to conduct oral arguments.

Members of the court also have a Law School for Legislators program, send daily and monthly newsletters and expanded a system to assist self-represented litigants.

Karmeier was first elected to the Supreme Court in 2004 in what then was the most expensive judicial election in U.S. history.

 

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