Process To Fill Federal Judgeship In Madison, Long Vacant, Begins Anew


After several false starts, the process of appointing a new federal judge in Madison to replace the 2009 retiree John Shabazz has commenced.

The vacancy in Madison is one of 36 in the nation declared to be an emergency by the administrator of federal courts. Since Judge Shabazz retired, Judges Barbara Crabb and William Conley, and Magistrate Stephen Crocker, have split his case load. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc) blocked two of President Obama’s nominations to fill the vacancy, insisting that both law professor Victoria Nourse and former state Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler were too liberal.

But last month Johnson agreed to a new process proposed by fellow senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc). Each of them appointed three people to a bipartisan nominating commission that has just begun to accept new applications. State Bar of Wisconsin president-elect Patrick Fiedler says the deadline for applying is May 29: “I am assuming that they will look through each application, and then decide out of that group of applicants how many they want to interview on a personal basis.”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The commission’s six members are all Wisconsin attorneys, and the commission charter requires that five of the six must agree on a nomination before it’s forwarded to the president.