Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson
"Views from the Bench"
Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson Bio:
Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson became the first woman on the Wisconsin Supreme Court when she was appointed in 1976. She was elected to a ten-year term in 1979 and was re-elected in 1989, 1999, and 2009, and has served as chief justice since 1996. She earned an A.B. magna cum laude from New York University in 1953, a J.D. with high distinction from Indiana University Law School in 1956, and an S.J.D. in American legal history from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1962, and holds 15 honorary doctor of laws degrees. Before her appointment to the court, she practiced law in Madison for 14 years, taught as a faculty member of the University of Wisconsin Law School, and lectured at Marquette University Law School.
Chief Justice Abrahamson is a past president of the Conference of Chief Justices, a past chair of the board of directors of the National Center for State Courts, and is presently a member of the council of the American Law Institute and a member of the board of directors of the Institute of Judicial Administration at New York University School of Law. She is a member of the National Board of Academic Advisors of the William H. Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government, a member of the Judicial Advisory Board of the American Society for International Law, and a member of the advisory board of the National Institute of Corrections Evidence-Based Decision Making Project. She was Chair of the National Institute of Justice National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence, 1997-2001, and is a former member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science, Technology and Law. She is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Wisconsin Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009 she was awarded the Harry L. Carrico Award for Judicial Innovation by the National Center for State Courts. In 2004 she was awarded the Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence by the American Judicature Society and in 1999 was the recipient of the Harley Award. In 2000 she received the 1999 Wisconsin Newsmaker of the Year Award. In 1995 she was awarded the ABA Women Lawyers of Achievement (ABA Brent Award) and in 1994 the Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Chief Justice Abrahamson is featured in Great American Judges: An Encyclopedia (John R. Vile ed. 2003) and listed in The Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America (2005) and The Lawdragon 500 Leading Judges in America (2006).