Tri States Public Radio Staff
50 Year Career
Mon February 25, 2013
Legal Trailblazer Mary Ann McMorrow Passes Away
The first woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court has died. Mary Ann McMorrow was 83.
McMorrow's election to the Illinois Supreme Court in 1992 was just one of a series of achievements in a career that spanned more than 50 years.
She was the only woman in her law school class in the early 1950s. After that, she was the first woman to prosecute felonies in Cook County.
One of her colleagues back then was future governor Jim Thompson, who recalled their work together in an interview in 2006, when McMorrow retired from the Supreme Court.
On the high court, McMorrow wrote a significant opinion striking down a law that capped how much money plaintiffs can collect in lawsuits. She also served a term as chief justice.
Though McMorrow was the high court's lone woman for a decade, she left the door wide open behind her. Three of the seven justices on the Illinois Supreme Court today are women.
A statement from the Supreme Court said McMorrow died February 23 after a brief illness.