Chicago’s 25 Most Powerful Women 2019: Anne Burke

Justice Anne Burke Chicago Powerful Women

Justice Anne M. Burke is a member of the Illinois Supreme Court’s First Judicial District. She was appointed to the Supreme Court on July 6, 2006 and was elected in 2008. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Justice Burke was appointed to the Appellate Court in 1995 and was elected the following year to the Appellate bench where she served until July 5, 2006. Her judicial career began earlier, in 1987, with an appointment to the Illinois Court of Claims by Governor Jim Thompson. She was later reappointed by Governor Jim Edgar. Before serving in the Court of Claims, she was appointed by Governor Jim Edgar as Special Counsel for Child Welfare Services, and was a member of his Legislative Committee on Juvenile Justice.

Prior to beginning her legal career, Justice Burke worked for the Chicago Park District, where she took part in a program teaching physical education to children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities. Having recognized the positive impact that sports competition had on her students, she championed the idea of a city-wide competition. This ultimately led to the creation of the Chicago Special Olympics in 1968, and grew to become the International Special Olympics, reaching tens of millions in 172 nations across the globe. Justice Burke later served as a Director of the International Special Olympics and remains involved with the Chicago Special Olympics, to this day.

Justice Burke received her Bachelor of Arts degree from DePaul University, where she majored in Education. She then attended Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law and received her Juris Doctorate in 1983. Justice Burke has been recognized with honorary degrees by St. Ambrose University, Catholic Theological Union, DePaul University, College of the Holy Cross, Aurora University, Lewis University, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, MacMuray College, Blackburn College, The John Marshall Law School, Marquette University, and St. Mary’s College.

As a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Justice Burke is a frequent speaker and panelist before many civic and local Bar Associations. For more than two years, serving as Interim Chair, she directed the efforts of the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops investigating the causes and effects of the clerical sexual abuse scandal and helped to establish guidelines and policies for effectively responding to this scandal. She currently serves on the Executive Steering Committee of Kennedy Forum Illinois.

Justice Burke is married to Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke and they have five children, Edward Jr., Jennifer, the late Emmett, Sarah and Travis, and nine grandchildren.

See our complete list: Chicago’s 25 Most Powerful Women 2019