Only African-American lawyer to serve on Illinois Supreme Court is retiring

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Charles E. Freeman, the only African-American to serve on the high court and currently its longest-tenured member, announced his retirement Thursday.

Freeman, 84, had served on the Supreme Court since his election in 1990. He is stepping down effective June 14.

State Appellate Justice P. Scott Neville Jr. was nominated by Freeman and approved by the Supreme Court to fill the remainder of Freeman’s term, which expires in December 2020. Neville, who also is African-American, joined the appellate court in 2004.

Freeman’s retirement sets the stage for a major election battle in 2020 for the Supreme Court opening, one of three representing the 1st Judicial District which covers Cook County.

Although Neville’s appointment will give him a leg up on other…

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