OLYMPIA, Wash. – Barbara A. Madsen, a 1977 graduate of the Gonzaga University School of Law, was sworn in as chief justice of the Washington State Supreme Court in ceremonies here Wednesday (Jan. 13).
Madsen will serve as the Court’s 55th chief justice for a three-year term. She succeeds Gerry Alexander, the state’s longest-serving chief justice, who announced in September that he would step down from the position in early 2010.
Alexander 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.
Madsen, a native of Renton, Wash., served in the Law Clinic and volunteered with Spokane Legal Services as a student.
As chief justice, Madsen will be the Court’s chief spokesperson, preside over its public hearings and become administrative head of the state’s trial and appellate court system. She also will co-chair the state’s Board for Judicial Administration, the policy-setting group of the state judiciary.
Madsen was the third woman elected to the Washington State Supreme Court since its formation in 1889. She was first elected in 1992, re-elected in 1998, and re-elected to a third term in 2004.
In 1993, Chief Justice Madsen became the inaugural recipient of the Myra Bradwell Award, which annually honors a Gonzaga Law alumna who has made great strides on behalf of women. She serves on the School’s Board of Advisors and regularly participates as a judge in Gonzaga’s annual Moot Court Competition.