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Ilana Rovner - Governor Jim Thompson Project

Judge Ilana Rovner was born in Riga, Latvia in 1938 but immigrated to the United States with her family in September 1939 just before Latvia was occupied by the Nazis. She developed a passion for justice and the rule of law because of those experiences, and earned a law degree from Georgetown University before moving to Chicago. By 1973 she was working for Jim Thompson when he was U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. When Thompson became governor in 1977, Rovner accepted a position as deputy governor. In that capacity, she was involved in the ERA fight in Illinois and helped establish the Dept. of Human Rights in Illinois. President Ronald Reagan appointed her to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the first woman to hold the post.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

Father's Influence


Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Work as assistant U.S. attorney and service as deputy governor

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

ERA in Illinois and hiring a Women’s Advocate

Interview Session 03 (Audio)

Experiences in Thompson administration, ERA, and as federal judge


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