St. Louis Public Radio News
3:10 pm
Tue September 14, 2010

Ill. Chief Justice To Step Down

CHICAGO –

Illinois' Chief Justice opened the state supreme court's fall term for the last time Tuesday.

Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald has announced he's leaving the bench late next month. Court spokesman Joe Tybor said that Fitzgerald has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

"While he feels he's fully capable of discharging his duties now, with the nature of Parkinson's, he doesn't know how much longer that will continue," Tybor said. "So, uh ... he's a big baseball fan. He said he wanted to go out like Sandy Koufax."

Fitzgerald was appointed to the state supreme court in 2000. The other six justices have already approved Cook County Appellate Court Judge Mary Ann Theis to fill the vacancy on the court. They'll choose a new chief justice once Fitzgerald officially steps down.