October 12, 2007

State Supreme Court justice to present lecture

by Pete Rosenbery


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke will present a lecture next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Burke will deliver the 2007 Jeanne Hurley Simon Lecture at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 17, in Student Center Ballroom D. Admission is free and the lecture is open to the public.

The Jeanne Hurley Simon Lecture Series honors Public Policy Institute founder Paul Simon's first wife, Jeanne, who died in February 2000. The series brings in prestigious speakers in the field of politics, government and other vital issues to campus. Morris Library's Special Collections' Research Center will be opening and displaying Jeanne Hurley Simon's papers as part of the event.

"Like Jeanne Simon, Justice Burke has been a compassionate, courageous, competent, committed champion for those who have special needs," institute Director Mike Lawrence said. "We are pleased to have her join us in honoring Jeanne. Those who join us for should expect a stimulating, inspiring evening."

Burke was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court in July 2006, filling the vacancy of the retiring Mary Ann G. McMorrow. She was appointed to the First District Appellate Court in 1995, and elected to the appellate court for a full term in 1996. She will be seeking a full, 10-year term to the Illinois Supreme Court next year.

She received her bachelor's degree in education from DePaul University in 1976, and law degree from ITT/Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1983. In 1987, she was the first woman appointed as a judge with the Illinois Court of Claims.

Burke has more than 40 years of public service, including as a physical education teacher with the Chicago Park District. She is credited with founding the Chicago Special Olympics in 1968 — an effort that later grew into the International Special Olympics. She is also credited with helping reform Cook County's juvenile justice system, along with child protective services through greater coordination and cooperation by local and state law enforcement and governmental agencies.

She also helped to establish guidelines and policies for prevention of sexual abuse by clergy, serving for two years as interim chair of the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Jeanne Hurley Simon's papers and photos will also be on display in the John W. Corker Lounge, adjacent to the Student Center Ballrooms, beginning at 5 p.m. The photographs, and papers, cover Simon's life from her time as a young attorney, a legislator in the Illinois General Assembly and up to when she was appointed by President William J. Clinton to chair the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science.

"These papers document the pioneering career of Jeanne Simon as a politician and public servant in her own right, and as a partner in her husband Paul Simon's political career," said Walter D. Ray, political papers archivist in Morris Library's Special Collections Research Center.

A graduate of Barat College and the Northwestern University School of Law, Jeanne Simon served as an assistant state's attorney in Cook County beginning in 1952. Simon was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1956 and 1958, before marrying fellow legislator Paul Simon in 1960 — the only wedding of two sitting Illinois state legislators. Upon leaving the legislature in 1961, Simon actively participated in her husband's subsequent campaigns for lieutenant governor, U.S. Representative, and the United States' Senate, in addition to Paul Simon's 1988 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.