Obit of the Day: Illinois’ 1st Female Chief Justice
Mary Ann McMorrow lived a life of firsts. She was the first woman to graduate from the Loyola University (Chicago) School of Law in 1953 - where she was elected class president. She was the first Cook County State’s Attorney to try felony cases - although her supervisor wouldn’t let her argue before the Illinois Supreme Court because of her gender. She was the first woman elected to the Cook County Circuit Court bench in 1976. Ten years later she was the first woman chosen by voters as a judge on the Illinois Appellate Court.
And she only continued to succeed. In 1992 she won election to the Illinois State Supreme Court., the first woman to earn a seat on Illinois’ highest judicial body. A decade later she would become the head of the Illinois judiciary when she won the 2002 election for Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice - the first woman to lead any branch of Illinois government.
When Mrs. McMorrow was sworn in as Chief Justice she said, “I am the 115th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois. You will notice after I take off my robe that I am the only one of the 114 chief justices who preceded me that wears a skirt.”
Mary Ann McMorrow died on Saturday, February 23 at the age of 83.
(Undated image of Judge Mary Ann Morrow is copyright of Sally Good/Chicago Tribune)