Sunday, April 17, 2016

Appellate Court Justice Laura Liu passes away

First District Appellate Court Justice Laura Cha-Yu Liu, the state's first Asian-American Appellate Court justice, died late Friday afternoon after a courageous five-year battle with breast cancer.

A statement released by her family stresses that Justice Liu "refused to be defined or constrained by her illness." In addition to being the first Asian-American to serve on the Illinois Appellate Court, Liu will be remembered as the first Chinese-American to be elected to public office in Chicago and Cook County and the first female Chinese-American to serve as a judge. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, the Illinois Supreme Court asked Justice Liu to chair its Language Access Committee, to ensure the court system was navigable to those whose first language was not English.

Justice Liu was first elected to the Circuit Court in 2012 (she ran, unopposed, from the 8th Subcircuit). She was appointed to the Appellate Court in 2014.

Justice Liu is survived by her husband, Michael J. Kasper, and a daughter, Sophia. To honor Justice Liu's memory, the family has established the Justice Laura Liu Scholarship Fund at St. Therese Chinese Catholic School. The fund will benefit needy children active in community service. Donations may be made at or mailed to 247 W. 23rd Street, Chicago, Illinois 60616.

For more on Justice Liu's life and career, see Dustin J. Seibert's profile in the June 2014 Chicago Lawyer (from which the accompanying photo is taken) or this February 1, 2014 David Ormsby piece for the Huffington Post.

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