September 12, 2022 at 3:45pm
Kendall Trump, Class of 2013

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White discusses constitution, law and justice

The History and Political Science Department at Millikin University is celebrating Constitution Day this year by hosting a conversation with Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White. The event will be on September 15, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in Banquet Room B of the University Commons at Millikin University.

This conversation with Decatur’s own Justice Lisa Holder White will focus on the intersections of the constitution, law, and justice reflecting on her more than 30 years of experience practicing law on both sides of the bench in Illinois.

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. But the commemoration of this day was much more recent in 1940, when Congress passed a resolution authorizing the President to publicly recognize all who had attained the status of American citizenship. In 1952 Congress passed a new law moving the date to September 17 to commemorate “the formation and signing of the Constitution.”

In 2004 Congress changed the designation of this day to "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day" and required educational institutions such as Millikin to hold a program for students every year.

Lisa Holder White earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990 from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. In 1993, Justice White earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in Urbana-Champaign.

Assistant State’s Attorney for Macon County was the first legal position held by Justice White. She also previously worked as an Assistant Public Defender, litigating on behalf of those charged with criminal offenses and representing abused and neglected children. Immediately prior to being appointed to the bench, Justice White worked in private practice at the firm formerly known as Brinkoetter & White. Her private practice focused on the areas of family and criminal law.

Lisa holder speaking at commencement

In 2001, Justice White was sworn in as an Associate Judge, becoming the first Black Judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit. During her term as an Associate Judge, she was instrumental in securing and implementing the Redeploy Illinois grant aimed at reducing the incarceration rate for non-violent juvenile offenders. In 2008, she was appointed to a Circuit Judge position by the Illinois Supreme Court. In 2010, she was elected to the position.

In Macon County, Justice White served as Supervising Judge of the Criminal Law Division. Following an appointment by the Illinois Supreme Court, Justice White was sworn in on January 14, 2013, as the first Black Justice on the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District. In 2014, she was elected to the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District.

On July 7, 2022, Justice White was sworn in as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Illinois.  She is the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court of Illinois.  She has served on the Board of Trustees at Millikin University and was named "Woman of the Year" at the 2013 Women of Excellence Awards, hosted by the Decatur YMCA and United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois.

This event is sponsored by the History and Political Science Department and Club at the History and Political Science Club at Millikin University.

For more information, please contact Dr. Laura Dean ldean@millikin.edu.