Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR0834
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Full Text of SR0834  103rd General Assembly



SR0834LRB103 39836 LAW 70519 r


2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois Senate are saddened
3to learn of the death of the Honorable Benjamin K. Miller,
4former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois, who
5passed away on February 25, 2024; and
6    WHEREAS, Judge Miller was born to Clifford C. and Mary M.
7Miller in Springfield on November 5, 1936; he graduated from
8Springfield High School in 1954 and Southern Illinois
9University Carbondale in 1958; he received his law degree from
10Vanderbilt University Law School in 1961; he graduated from
11the U.S. Army Intelligence School in Maryland in 1962; and
12    WHEREAS, Upon completion of law school, Judge Miller
13returned to Springfield, where he worked in private practice
14from 1961 to 1976; during this time, he served in both the U.S.
15Army Reserve and U.S. Navy Reserve; he was appointed to the
16Circuit Court for the 7th Judicial Circuit by the Supreme
17Court of Illinois in 1976, and he was elected to that position
18in 1978; he then served as Presiding Judge in the Criminal
19Felony Division of the Circuit Court in Sangamon County from
201976 to 1980; he was elected Chief Judge of the 7th Judicial
21Circuit, serving in that capacity until he was elected to the
224th District Appellate Court in 1982; and



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1    WHEREAS, Judge Miller was elected to a ten-year term on
2the Supreme Court of Illinois in 1984, representing the 4th
3Judicial District, which covers much of central Illinois; he
4was elected Chief Justice in 1991, becoming the first and only
5Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois to be from
6Sangamon County; he served in that role until January 1, 1994;
7that same year, he was reelected to the Supreme Court of
8Illinois; and
9    WHEREAS, During his tenure as Chief Justice of the Supreme
10Court of Illinois, Judge Miller was known for his
11intelligence, ethics, and forward-thinking approach and for
12always championing ways to improve the court system; his
13leadership led to profound changes in the judicial system,
14including expanding judicial performance evaluations
15statewide, adding non-attorneys to disciplinary hearing boards
16that ruled on lawyer misconduct, and clarifying the
17restrictions on political activity by judges and judicial
18candidates by amending the Code of Judicial Conduct; he also
19established the Special Commission on the Administration of
20Justice and the Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Council;
22    WHEREAS, Judge Miller had a lifelong interest in bioethics
23and helped develop the medical-legal curriculum at Southern
24Illinois University School of Medicine, where he served as an



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1adjunct professor in the Department of Medical Humanities for
2several years; after retirement, he also served in an of
3counsel capacity at the law firm Jenner & Block in Chicago for
4many years; and
5    WHEREAS, Judge Miller was active in many community
6organizations, including serving as president of the Greater
7Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield Mental
8Health Association, a board member of Sparc and the
9Springfield-Sangamon County Youth Services Bureau, and a
10member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Sangamon
11County Bar Association, and the Central Illinois Women's Bar
12Association, where he became the association's first male
13member; he also helped establish a center for battered women
14in Springfield and provided legal advice to victims of
15domestic abuse; from 1988 to 1991, he chaired the Illinois
16Courts Commission, the constitutional body authorized to
17discipline or suspend members of the judiciary; and
18    WHEREAS, Judge Miller received a number of accolades,
19including being awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from the
20John Marshall Law School in 1991 and named to the Order of
21Lincoln, the State's highest civilian honor, in 2019; he was
22the namesake of the Justice Benjamin K. Miller Recognition
23Award, which was established to honor outstanding members of
24the community and the judiciary for their work in preventing



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1family violence; and
2    WHEREAS, Judge Miller was a world-class sailor, and he
3enjoyed sailing his 37-foot sailboat, Adventure, throughout
4the Caribbean and South America; and
5    WHEREAS, Judge Miller's impact on the law is both
6significant and substantial; he wrote over 487 opinions,
7participated in more than 2,000 cases, and evaluated over
820,000 requests for review; he will be remembered for serving
9as a leader in court reform and ethics and as a tireless
10advocate for victims of domestic abuse; and
11    WHEREAS, Judge Miller was preceded in death by his
12parents, Clifford C. and Mary M. Miller; and
13    WHEREAS, Judge Miller is survived by his sister, Carol
14Costello; his nephews, John Costello and David (Julie)
15Costello; his niece, Katherine (Mark) Whitlock, and her sons,
16Ben and Jack Whitlock; Jennifer A. Johnson; and many friends;
17therefore, be it
19ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we mourn the passing of
20the Honorable Benjamin K. Miller, former Chief Justice of the
21Supreme Court of Illinois, and extend our sincere condolences



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1to his family, friends, and all who knew and loved him; and be
2it further
3    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
4presented to the family of Judge Miller as an expression of our
5deepest sympathy.