Lisa Holder White to become first Black woman on Illinois Supreme Court

An Illinois judge is making history.

Judge Lisa Holder White, 54, will join the Illinois Supreme Court — making her the first Black female justice to serve on the state's highest court. 

The Republican judge is replacing Justice Rita Garman, who is retiring.


Right now, Holder White serves on the Fourth District Appellate Court. She will join Illinois' high court in July.

Holder White called the appointment the "honor of a lifetime" and thanked Garman and the rest of the court for their confidence.

"My service to the judiciary for the past 21 years has helped prepare me for this historic moment," Holder White said in a statement. "I look forward to the privilege of resolving matters my fellow citizens bring before the court."

Holder White, of Decatur, began her career as an assistant state’s attorney in Macon County. She then began private practice while serving as an assistant county public defender. She was named associated circuit judge in 2001 and circuit judge in 2008. She became the Illinois Appellate Court’s first Black woman justice in 2013.

Holder White has served as chairwoman for the Illinois Supreme Court Judicial Conference’s committee on education, which plans and provides continuing education for judges. She teaches at the bi-annual Education Conference, which all judges in the state must attend, and used to be an instructor for "New Judge School."

Associated Press contributed to this report.