On February 10, 2020, Chief Justice Robert Thomas (R) announced that he will retire from the Illinois Supreme Court on February 29. In the event of a midterm vacancy, the Illinois Supreme Court appoints an interim judge. The interim judge serves until the next general election occurring at least 60 days after his appointment. The judge must then run in a partisan election to remain on the court. The Illinois Supreme Court has decided that following Chief Justice Thomas’ retirement, Appellate Justice Michael Burke will assume his seat as an interim judge.
Alongside Thomas’ seat (to be held by Burke), there will be three other seats on the ballot in November. Lloyd Karmeier (R) announced his retirement on December 6, 2019, and his seat will be up for partisan election on November 3, 2020. P. Scott Neville (D) was chosen to fill a vacancy on the court in 2018 and his seat will also be up for regular election on November 3, 2020. Thomas Kilbride (D) will also face retention election on November 3, 2020.
The retirement of Thomas and Karmeier leaves Justice Rita Garman the lone Republican on the seven-member Court.