FILE - Thomas L. Kilbride, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride

In this Sept. 10, 2013 file photo, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride listens to oral arguments at the Michael A. Bilandic Building in Chicago. 

(The Center Square) – For the first time in history, Illinois voters declined to retain a sitting Illinois Supreme Court justice in Tuesday’s election.

“Though votes continue to be counted, I am disappointed in the apparent outcome,” said Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride. “Serving on the Illinois Supreme Court has been the honor and privilege of my lifetime, and I am proud of the legacy I will leave behind, including a court that is more open, transparent and accessible to all, regardless of economic means.”

The outcome was applauded by the group Citizens for Judicial Fairness.

“This unprecedented outcome sends an unmistakable message that Illinoisans want an independent judiciary with no ties to Mike Madigan," group chairman Jim Nowlan said. "We call on the Supreme Court to listen to the people as they consider a potential interim replacement to serve until 2022.”

Kilbride received political money from funds controlled by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider also said the decision was a rebuke for House Speaker Michael Madigan, who had supported Kilbride.

“From the legislative branch to the judicial branch, we must eliminate all Madigan loyalists and the scourge of corruption that they actively enable,” Schnieder said.

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.