Justice Robert L. Carter of the 3rd District Appellate Court has been selected to join the Illinois Supreme Court next month, pending the Illinois State Board of Elections proclaiming the results of the November 3 election.
The appointment of Justice Carter is effective December 8, 2020, and terminates December 5, 2022, when the seat will be filled by the November 2022 General Election. The Supreme Court has constitutional authority to fill all judicial vacancies.
“Justice Carter’s appointment came via a unanimous 6-0 vote,” Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said.
Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, whose vacancy Carter is scheduled to fill, did not participate in the vote.
“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,” Justice 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.”
Justice Carter, 74, of Ottawa, has been a judge since 1979 and was assigned to the 3rd District Appellate Court on September 1, 2006. He was elected Circuit Judge in 1988 and became Chief Judge in 1993. In December 2002, Justice Carter was elected Chair of the Conference of Chief Judges and re-elected in 2003 and 2005. He holds A.B. (1968) and J.D. (1974) degrees from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and a Master of Arts (1974) in Administration from Sangamon State University. He completed a one-week course in mediation at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, in the summer of 2001.
In 1969-70, Justice Carter served in the United States Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. He was a law clerk to Justice Howard C. Ryan of the Illinois Supreme Court in 1974-1975 and engaged in the general private practice of law from 1975-1979.
Since 1980, Justice Carter has been a frequent lecturer at judicial education programs for Illinois judges on such topic areas as jury trials, evidence, contempt, and domestic relations. In 2005, he taught and chaired a seminar on Judicial Administration and Management. In 1998, Justice Carter served on the Judicial Mentor Training Committee to assist in the implementation of the Illinois Supreme Court’s mentoring program for new judges.
Justice Carter, a lifelong resident of Illinois, is past president of the Illinois Judges Association and was a member of its Board of Directors. He was Chairman of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee on Family Violence issues. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a member of and past post commander of the American Legion, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a member of the Illinois and LaSalle County Bar Associations.
Justice Carter is married to Nancy Rink Carter, a retired attorney, and they have two children, Mary, a consultant, and Matthew, an attorney.