Former Gov. Thompson named Chair of Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission
The Illinois Supreme Court announced Monday the appointment of former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson to be chairman of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission. Governor Thompson will replace John B. Simon as chairman, who was appointed to the Illinois Appellate Court in October.
Gov. Thompson has served on the Historic Preservation Commission since its creation by the Illinois Legislature in 2007.
"I am honored by this appointment," Mr. Thompson said. "I will work to carry out the mission to ensure that the Supreme Court of Illinois Building serves the needs of the Court in this century and be-yond as well as sponsoring programs and exhibits which educate the citizens of Illinois on the role of the courts and its relationship to the eminent practitioners of law since 1818.
"I began my legal career 53 years ago arguing before the Supreme Court and I have a reverence for the Court and its place in society."
Mr. Thompson is the third person to hold the position as chairman. Appellate Justice Simon was named chairman in January 2011 after the death of esteemed Chicago attorney Jerold P. Solovy.
Justice Rita B. Garman, who serves as Supreme Court liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission, lauded the appointment of the former Illinois governor as its newest chairman.
"We're thrilled to have former Governor Thompson as chairman of the Commission. He is a long-time public servant who has served the citizens of Illinois with distinction," Justice Garman said. "He brings a vast knowledge and deep respect for the law. There is probably no one now practicing law in Illinois who has appeared more times than he before the Court.
"I am pleased that he will guide and lead the Commission's work in ensuring that our storied and rich judicial history is preserved for the generations to come."
Justice Anne M. Burke, who also serves as Supreme Court liaison to the Commission, thanked Appellate Justice Simon for his service and also welcomed the appointment of Gov. Thompson as chairman.
"The Illinois Historic Preservation Commission is grateful for the excellent service of Justice John Simon. We are thrilled for the Illinois Appellate Court First District to have Justice Simon as its newest member," Justice Burke said. "His legal knowledge and outstanding reputation will be a true credit to the Court.
"Gov. Thompson has served on the Commission since its inception and to continue as Chairman is a gift to our state. His service has been invaluable."
Listed in 1997 and 2000 by The National Law Journal as one of the nation’s 100 most influential lawyers, Mr. Thompson served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of Winston & Strawn from 1991 to 2006, as well as Chairman and CEO of the firm from 1993 to 2006. He presently serves as Senior Chairman.
Gov. Thompson is a former Chairman of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. As Illinois’ longest-serving governor with 14 years at the helm, Mr. Thompson served as Chairman of the National Governors’ Association, the Midwestern Governors’ Conference, the Council of Great Lakes Governors, and the Republican Governors’ Association.
In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed Mr. Thompson as chairman of the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board, a position he held until 1993. He was a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (the 9-11 Commission).
Before being appointed by President Nixon as U.S. Attorney in Chicago from 1971-1975, Gov. Thompson argued more than 200 cases before the Illinois Supreme Court. He also served as an Associate Professor at Northwestern University School of Law, a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, and an Assistant Attorney General of Illinois.
The Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission was created by the legislature to assist and advise the Illinois Supreme Court in collecting and preserving documents, artifacts and the rich history relating to the Illinois judiciary, as well as performing an educational function. It recently completed a dramatization of the commitment trial of Mary Todd Lincoln, with well-received performances in Springfield and Chicago.
Recently, the Commission partnered with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum to present "The Culture of Clothing", an event held recently in Chicago. This event portrayed historically significant dresses worn by Mary Todd Lincoln and examined how clothing defined the culture, the time, and the first lady. The event will be presented as well in Springfield on Monday, November 19 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
The Commission has also served in an advisory capacity to the upcoming rehabilitation of the Illinois Supreme Court Building, which opened in 1908.
The Commission also seeks to accomplish much of its work in partnership with historical and cultural institutions; bar associations, universities, law schools, and federal, state, and local agencies. Nine members comprise the governing body. The Supreme Court, the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate President each appoint two members; and the Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts serves as ex officio.