At a recent ceremony at the David S. Palmer Arena, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Garman was honored by having the county courthouse named in her honor—it will now be known as the Rita B. Garman Vermilion County Courthouse.
The Commercial-News reports the story.
At the ceremony, Justice Garman noted that early in her career opportunities “for a young woman lawyer were limited[.]” But she gained experience in both government and private practice. And eventually she became an associate judge, then an a circuit judge, then the presiding judge for Vermilion County. She was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2001 and served as the chief judge from 2013 to 2016. The Commercial-News reports that Justice Garman was the first chief justice to serve in every capacity in the state judiciary, and the first woman to hold each of those positions.
The article also reports that over 200 people, including local and state officials, attended the ceremony. Keynote speaker and former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar stated that 40 years ago, he never thought that the Vermilion County courthouse would be named for a judge who was a woman, but that, “How times have changed—and I must say, for the better.” Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier—Justice Garman’s successor as chief justice—commended the Vermilion County Board and community for having the foresight to honor Justice Garman.
Justice Garman noted that that the ceremony and honor “have made me acutely aware that I am not an island. I am a piece of this community, just as every member of this audience is a piece of a larger whole.”