Four decades serving state

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Abrahamson broke through many barriers to serve Wisconsin citizens.

SHIRLEY ABRAHAMSON, the longest-serving Supreme Court justice in Wisconsin history, was often revered or despised depending on one's political viewpoint.

The first woman to serve on the court, Abrahamson was widely considered the leader of the liberal wing among justices for decades. She served as chief justice for two decades, until majority Republicans in the legislature changed the law to oust her.

Last week the 84-year-old Abrahamson announced she will not seek re-election. We'll call that a mild surprise, because the last time she ran for the 10-year term and sat for an interview at the Beloit Daily News, as she left, Abrahamson told us, "Don't be surprised if you see me here again for the next election."

IF IT'S POSSIBLE, let's put aside politics for the moment and celebrate an individual who gave most of her adult life to serving the law and the citizens of Wisconsin. Abrahamson was on the court more than 40 years, from 1976 until her term expires in 2019. She wrote more than 450 majority opinions, and produced more than 3,500 written decisions. Friend or foe, no one ever criticized her work ethic as she came to be nationally known as one of the leading state judges in America.

So on the occasion of her announcement of planned retirement, we express appreciation for Shirley Abrahamson's hard work and contributions to Wisconsin.

And, yes, we will miss talking with you when that election rolls around next year.

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