Long-term Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Abrahamson Dies


MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The longest-serving Wisconsin Supreme Court judge in state history and the first woman to serve on the High Court, Shirley Abrahamsson, has passed away. She was 87.

Abrahamson, who served as chief justice for a record 19 years, died on Saturday after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his son Dan Abrahamsson told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Wisconsin Government. Tony Evers said in a statement that Abrahamson had a “larger-than-life impact” on the state’s legal profession and defined his legacy as “not only being the first, but his life’s work to make sure he doesn’t.” It will be the last, to pave the way for the women and others who will come after that. ”

Long recognized as a top legal scholar and a leader among state judges, Abrahamson wrote more than 450 majority opinions and participated in more than 3,500 written decisions over more than four decades in the Supreme Court of Wisconsin took. She retired in 2019 and moved to California to live with her family.

In 1993, then-President Bill Clinton considered placing him in the US Supreme Court, and he was later elevated to the book “Great American Judges: An Encyclopedia”.

She told the Wisconsin State Journal in 2006 that she enjoyed being in court.

“It is a mixture of sitting, reading and writing and thinking, which I enjoy doing. And it’s quiet. On the other hand, the problems I work on are the real problems of real people, and it matters to them, and it matters to the state of Wisconsin. So it gives an edge, and a tension, ”she said.

The New York City native, to prove it, graduated from Indiana University Law School for the first time in his class in 1956, three years after his marriage to Siom Abrahamsson. The couple moved to Madison and her husband, a world-renowned geneticist, joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1961. He died in 2016.

He earned a law degree from UW-Madison in 1962, then worked as a professor and joined a Madison law firm hired by the father of future Governor Jim Doyle.

Appointed to the High Court of the state by the then village. In 1966 Patrick Lucy, in 19 Abraham, won 10 times 10 times in a ten-year tenure. He broke the longest judging record in 2013, his 37th year in court.

Abrahamson was in the majority when the court in 2005 allowed a boy to sue for lead paint injuries, though he could not prove which company made the products that made him ill – decades before and Prosecuting open paint companies seeking lawsuits.

But Abrahamsson found himself a minority in a number of high-profile cases later in his career, including 2011, when the court upheld legislation made by the Republican then-government. Scott Walker effectively terminated the rights of the Public Employees Union, and in 2015, when the court ended the politically charged investigation into Walker and conservative groups.

Abrahamson’s health began to fail in 2018, and she often missed court hearings. In May, she announced that she would not run again in 2019, and in August, she discovered she had cancer.

Doyle, a former Wisconsin attorney general and two-term governor, called Abrahamsson a pioneer and said that when he first ran for Dane County District Attorney in the 1970s, he consulted him. Doyle’s father, who was a federal judge, gave Abrahamsson his first job at law school, Doyle said Sunday.

“He was the warmest, dearest, dearest friend,” said Doyle.

Doyle has credited Abrahamson for demolishing court work by conducting hearings around the state and meeting with school groups and others.

In addition to breaking barriers for women, Doyle has stated that Abrahamsson was a defender of civil rights and civil liberties, basic constitutional rights, and a strong advocate for open government and public records.

Dan Abrahamson, who practices law in California, said his mother kept her work and personal life separate.

“He was always there for food,” he said. “She was always with me for homework. … As a mother, all of the energy and attention to deal with and she brought to her professional life as well as the one she brought to her family. “

Abrahamsson was not without his enemies, both in court and among Republican lawmakers who pushed a constitutional amendment in 2015 that led to his removal from office as chief justice. The voter-approved amendment enabled members of the court to choose the chief justice – who oversees the state’s court system – moving to the most senior justice rather than requiring title.

Abrahamson, who became chief in 1996, was quickly voted on by conservative justices who held a majority in court when the new law went into effect in 2015. Since then Justice Patience Roggensack has served as Chief Justice.

Although she often collided with more conservative members of the court, and garnered the support of liberals and Democrats, Abrahamson consistently stated that she was independent.

Abrahamson said in May 2018, “When I joined the court, I was given a voice – which I have not hesitated to use.” “The best expression of appreciation I can give to those who have chosen me and to remember me again and again. I continue to speak with the clarity, clarity and compassion that I have taken from life to serve and do justice to all have tried. “

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