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Judge Karmeier Sworn-In as New Illinois Chief Justice

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier has been sworn in as the high court's 120th Chief Justice.

During an installation ceremony Monday afternoon at the Illinois Supreme Court in Springfield, the southern Illinois native said the moment is not lost on him.

"It's been a wonderful experience for me, coming from Covington in Washington County, to be able to join my colleagues on this bench and now help to lead them for the next three years."

Karmeier says he's impressed the transfer of power is done with little fanfare.

"It's been done without any television advertising, without any mail solicitation, without any rancor, or anything else that goes on in the political scene. In fact, the transfer of this position is so commonplace, it merits little attention outside the legal community."

Karmeier will be the chief administrative officer of the state's judicial system and oversee more than 900 judges in Illinois. He was unanimously chosen by his peers. He is replacing Justice Rita Garman, who is finishing a three-year term as Chief Justice.

Karmeier has served on the Supreme Court since 2004. He received attention for voting in 2005 to overturn a $10.1 billion class-action judgment against tobacco company Philip Morris. Plaintiffs' attorneys wanted him recused from the case, saying he had received contributions from Philip Morris, which Karmeier denied.

John Honos