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Judge Lisa Holder White Named First Black Woman On Illinois Supreme Court

Judge Lisa Holder White Named First Black Woman On Illinois Supreme Court

This isn’t her first time making history!

Judge Lisa Holder White has just been named as the first Black woman on the Illinois Supreme Court, The State Journal-Register reports.

Holder White holds degrees from Lewis University and the University of Illinois College of Law. A member of the Illinois Supreme Court Judicial Conference Committee on Education, the veteran judge has worked to provide professional development and continuing education for Illinois state judges. She serves as a member of the Decatur Bar Association, Illinois Judges Association, Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association and the University of Illinois College of Law Leadership Project.

With a career spanning more than two decades, Holder White is no stranger to firsts, making history as the first Black appellate court judge in the Fourth District in 2013. She went on to run unopposed the following year and was elected. Now Judge Holder White is adding another historic accomplishment to her belt, recently being appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court, the first Black woman to ever hold the title. 

“Being appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court is the honor of a lifetime. I am humbled by the confidence Justice Rita B. Garman and the entire Court have placed in me. My service to the judiciary for the past 21 years has helped prepare me for this historic moment. I look forward to the privilege of resolving matters my fellow citizens bring before the Court,” said Holder White. 

She stands on the shoulders of others who have paved the way, namely the Illinois Supreme Court’s first Black justice, Charles Freeman, who served 28 years before his retirement in 2018, and Garman, who was appointed in 1995 as the first woman to serve on the Fourth District Appellate Court. Holder White will take the bench in place of Garman who announced her retirement this week after serving the bench for 48 years. 

Holder White has been an integral part on the appellate court, participating in several key decisions including appeals regarding the state mask mandate, issues surrounding private companies and billions of assets, and protocols around governmental authority in regards to transportation of inmates at county jails. 

Erika Harold, who has worked closely with Holder White in the past and leads the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, spoke about the significance of this appointment. 

“I couldn’t be more thrilled and inspired by the historic appointment of Lisa Holder White to the Illinois Supreme Court. Her qualifications and dedication to fair and equitable justice are remarkable…The appointment of Justice Holder White feels like a significant shift in what’s possible for Black women and all people across Illinois,” said Harold. 

Holder White will officially step into her new role on July 8, her term set to expire on December 2, 2024. A subsequent election will be held to determine who will fill the seat.

Photo Courtesy of Illinois Supreme Court