(The Center Square) – After Illinois voters rejected the retention of a sitting Illinois Supreme Court Justice for the first time in history, the remaining justices appointed a temporary replacement.

The Illinois Supreme Court announced Tuesday it unanimously picked Justice Robert L. Carter of the 3rd District Appellate Court to join the bench next month. Carter takes the seat vacated by former Justice Thomas Kilbride, who lost his retention bid last week.

Groups in support and opposition of Kilbride’s retention bid spent millions of dollars in that contest. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce opposed Kilbride’s retention. Some opponents highlighted how Kilbride received political dollars from funds controlled by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.

Kilbride did not take part in the vote to select Carter, the court said.

“I am humbled by the confidence and trust the Court has placed in me as it is the honor and privilege of a lifetime to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court,” Carter said. “It is a place where I first started my career as a law clerk to Justice Howard Ryan and it is where I will retire after this two-year appointment as I won’t seek to run for this seat in 2022.”

The term ends Dec. 5, 2022. Voters will pick the next replacement in the November 2022 General Election.

Carter, of Ottawa, is a U.S. Army veteran in Vietnam. He’s been a judge since 1979. He was assigned to the appellate court in 2006. He was a Democrat when he was elected to Circuit Judge in 1988.

The appointment was criticized by a group that was critical of Kilbride heading into last week’s election. 

“Justice Kilbride’s non-retention was a step in the right direction, but Justice Carter’s appointment is yet another example of why an independent election is critical in 2022,” said Citizens for Judicial Fairness Chairman Jim Nowlan. “Justice Carter has been appointed every two years to the appellate court by Justice Kilbride and has never been elected to that court. This pedigree is concerning in regards to his independence, but we are encouraged that neither he nor Justice Kilbride will be seeking the seat in 2022 and the voters of the 3rd District will have their voices heard by electing a truly impartial justice in 2 years.”

This article was initially published at TheCenterSquare

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