Barbara Madsen (born c. 1952) is the Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court. She was elected to the court in 1992 as the first woman to be popularly elected to the Court in Washington state history. She was re-elected in 1998 and 2004. In her 18 years on the Washington Supreme Court and 21 years on the bench Chief Justice Madsen has sat in judgement on thousands of cases.
Justice Madsen, a native of Renton, WA, graduated from Hazen High School. In 1974, she received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington. In 1977, she earned her J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law. After completing law school, Justice Madsen worked as a public defender in King and Snohomish counties. In 1982, she joined the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and was appointed Special Prosecutor in 1984. Seattle Mayor Charles Royer appointed Justice Madsen in 1988 to the Seattle Municipal Court bench. After serving as the Presiding Judge of the Seattle Municipal Court, Justice Madsen ran for the Washington Supreme Court in 1992 to fill the vacancy left by retiring Justice Fred Dore.
On November 5, 2009, Madsen was unanimously elected by her peers to serve as Chief Justice.
On January 11, 2010, Madsen was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court, replacing retiring Chief Justice Gerry L. Alexander.