Hinsdale Central Foundation, Partnership in Lifelong Learning

Barbara B. Crabb

Membership level: Hall of Fame

Barbara B. Crabb

Inductee Year 2006
Barbara B. Crabb
Barbara B. Crabb graduated from Hinsdale Township High School in 1956 and attended the University of Wisconsin, where she received both her B.A. (1960) and her LL.B. (1962). She was in private practice in Madison for two years before her children were born, then worked as a legal researcher for the University of Wisconsin Law School and the American Bar Association before she was appointed a part-time United States Magistrate for the Western District of Wisconsin in 1971. She became the full-time magistrate in 1974 and, in 1979, was appointed to a newly created district judgeship in the Western District. She became chief judge of the district in 1980, served in that position until 1996, when she relinquished the title to her colleague, John Shabaz, and resumed the position in 2001. She was the first woman in Wisconsin appointed to the position of United States Magistrate, the first woman in the circuit to be appointed as a district judge and the first woman to sit by designation on the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Among the noteworthy cases she has decided are a series of treaty rights cases involving the claims of six Chippewa bands to hunting, fishing and gathering rights across the northern third of the state, cases involving the conditions of state prisons and a case challenging the mandatory membership requirement of the Wisconsin State Bar. Judge Crabb is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the State Bar of Wisconsin, the American Bar Association, the Legal Association for Women and the James E. Doyle Inn of Courts. She has an honorary degree from the University of Wisconsin and was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1991 and awarded the Margo Melli Award by the Legal Association for Women in 1971. She has been a judge in residence at Hamline University School of Law and John Marshall Law School. From 1991-94, she served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States and from 1985-1991, she was a member of the Conference's Committee on Defender Services. From 1991-95, she co-chaired an American Bar Association project to develop Model Judicial Disciplinary Rules. Currently, she is on the board of United Way of Dane County, heading up the organization's efforts to help seniors and disabled persons remain independent. Judge Crabb is married to Ted Crabb, who served as director of the Wisconsin Union at the University of Wisconsin for 33 years. They are the parents of two children, Julia and Philip, and grandparents of Sydney Crabb and Christopher Nelson. Her hobbies are tennis, swimming, travel, gardening and reading.
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