Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
Washington Supreme Court Elects New Chief JusticeNovember 05, 2009
(Olympia, November 5) Justice Barbara A. Madsen was elected chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court today, during a regular administrative meeting of the Court’s nine members in Olympia.
Madsen will serve as the Court’s 55th chief justice for a three-year term starting in January. She will succeed Gerry Alexander, the state’s longest serving chief justice, who announced in September that he will step down from the position at the beginning of 2010. Alexander will continue to serve the last two years of his term as an associate justice, retiring at the end of 2011, the year in which he will reach the mandatory retirement age for judges in Washington.
“I am delighted that the Court has selected Justice Barbara Madsen as our state’s next chief justice and I look forward to administering the oath of office to my colleague in January,” said Alexander. He praised Madsen’s leadership during her 16 years on the Court and for her work as chair of the Washington State Gender and Justice Commission. He pledged to assist in any way possible during the transition to office.
As chief justice, Madsen will become the court’s chief spokesperson, preside over the court’s public hearings and become administrative head of the state’s trial and appellate court system. She will also co-chair the state’s Board for Judicial Administration, the policy-setting group of the state judiciary.
Madsen is the third woman to be elected to a seat on the bench of the Washington State Supreme Court since the formation of the Court in 1889. Justice Madsen was first elected in 1992, re-elected in 1998, and re-elected for a third term in 2004.
A native of Renton, Justice Madsen received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 1974 and earned her J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1977. She served as presiding judge for Seattle Municipal Court prior to her election on the Supreme Court. (Please click here for a full biography.)
She will be officially sworn in as the chief justice of the Supreme Court during ceremonies in Olympia on January 11, 2010.
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