Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, 79, who was first elected to his seat on the state's high court in 2004, will retire next December, according to the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts.
His notice means that candidates interested in filling the open seat may begin circulating nomination papers to appear on the March 17 primary ballot, with winners going on to the general election on Nov. 3, 2020.
Voters from the Fifth Judicial District - comprised of the state's 37 southernmost counties - elected Karmeier, a Republican, over Gordon Maag, a Democrat who was a sitting Fifth District appellate court justice at the time, by a 10 point margin, 55-45 percent.
That election, essentially pitting business interests against the trial bar, was the nation's costliest at the time, topping $9 million. A major issue in the election that resonated with voters was the high cost of medical malpractice insurance that providers said was driving doctors away from the Metro-East.
In 2014, voters retained Karmeier by a margin of 60.74, having exceeded the minimum threshold (of 60 percent) for retention by approximately 2,800 votes.
More than $3 million was spent in the retention race. Supporters of Karmeier raised a little more than $1 million in the final weeks of the election in response to a last minute, $2 million negative campaign attack.