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Wisconsin’s first woman chief justice, Shirley Abrahamson dies at 87

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Shirley-Abrahamson
Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson

MADISON (WKOW) -- Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson has passed away at the age of 87.

Abrahamson was a justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1976 through 2019. She also served as chief justice from 1996 to 2015.

In serving over 40 years on the court Abrahamson wrote more than 1,300 opinion.

Abrahamson was both the first woman to serve on the court and the first woman chief justice.

In 2018, it was announced Abrahamson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

When Gov. Tony Evers learned of her passing Sunday morning, he commented, "Her legacy is defined not just by being a first, but her life’s work of ensuring she would not be the last, paving and lighting the way for the many women and others who would come after her."

Senator Tammy Baldwin also commented on Abrahamson's death, and said "Shirley Abrahamson broke barriers and for her serving on the Supreme Court meant serving the people of Wisconsin as an independent, fair and impartial justice because after all, the court and our court system belongs to the people, not powerful special interests... She always understood that you can’t serve the people if you don’t walk in their shoes."

Baldwin continued "That is why the people of Wisconsin elected her to the Supreme Court four times and she served 43 years on the court - serving the people. All of us know the stories of that lonely office light on at the State Capital, as the Chief did her job working late into the night reading briefs and writing opinions."

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Emma Fried

Assignment Editor/ Digital Producer

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