Illinois Supreme Court chief justice retiring ahead of husband’s corruption trial
Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke will retire Nov. 30, allowing her replacement to be appointed rather than elected. Her husband, Chicago Ald. Ed Burke, faces reelection in February and a corruption trial in late 2023.
Justice Joy Cunningham was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Burke, according to the Illinois Supreme Court. Cunningham’s term begins Dec. 1 and runs through 2024, giving her two years on the high court before she faces election.
Illinois is one of only two states allowing their supreme courts to appoint interim judges, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Of the seven justices on the Illinois Supreme Court, six were appointed before their first elections.
Burke’s retirement will still involve legal proceedings as her husband faces a federal racketeering trial. Anne Burke is married to the longest-serving alderman in Chicago’s history, Ward 14 Ald. Ed Burke, who’s been in office since 1969. His trial is set for Nov. 6, 2023, but his next election is Feb. 28, 2023.
Ed Burke won re-election in February 2019 shortly after he was accused of multiple extortion attempts. For the second time, Ed Burke will face re-election while he’s the subject of a federal corruption probe. He’s seeking a 14th term.
Ed Burke was indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic added multiple delays to the proceedings. Pretrial motions from August 2020 didn’t get a ruling until this past June.
Ed Burke is charged with extorting two Burger King executives into using his law firm, Klafter & Burke. When they took their business elsewhere, an employee from Burke’s office said they’d resort to “hardball.”
Court documents also state Burke talked with then Ald. Daniel Solis 23 times about extorting the Old Post Office into using Burke’s firm during renovations.
Chicago is the most corrupt metro area in the nation and Illinois the second-most corrupt state, based on federal corruption convictions. Corruption costs Illinoisans $550 million is lost economic activity every year.