Read this week's JP Election Brief:
Primary match-ups across the nation

John Shabaz

From Judgepedia
(Redirected from John C. Shabaz)
Jump to: navigation, search
John Shabaz
Placeholder image.png
Do you have a photo that could go here? Submit it for this profile by emailing us!
Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
Title:   Former federal judge
Position:   Seat #1
Appointed by:   Ronald Reagan
Active:   12/10/1981-1/20/2009
Chief:   1996-2001
Senior:   1/20/2009-2012
Preceded by:   James Edward Doyle
Personal History
Born:   June 25, 1931
Hometown:   Milwaukee, WI
Deceased:   August 31, 2012
Party:   Republican
Undergraduate:   UW-Madison
Law School:   Marquette U. Law School, LL.B., 1957
Military service:   U.S. Army 1954-1956

John C. Shabaz was a District (Article III) Court Judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. He joined the court in 1981, after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Shabaz assumed senior status on January 20, 2009. He passed away on August 31, 2012.[1]

Early life and education

Shabaz was born in 1931 in Milwaukee and earned his law degree from Marquette University in 1957. Shabaz also graduated from UW-Madison with his undergraduate degree before entering law school. Shabaz served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956 before graduating from Marquette. Shabaz served as a private practice attorney in West Allis from 1957 to 1981. From 1964 to the time of his appointment in 1981, Shabaz served as a state representative in Wisconsin's 83rd Assembly District[2].

Professional career

Shabaz was a Republican Representative in Assembly District 83 Representing the Waukesha and New Berlin areas. Shabaz was first elected in 1964 till his appointment by President Ronald Reagan on the US Courts in 1981. Shabaz was the minority leader from 1973 to 1979 and served as Assistant Majority Leader in 1969. Shabaz served on organizational committees in the Wisconsin State Assembly.[3]

Judicial career

Western District of Wisconsin

Shabaz was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on November 4, 1981, to a seat vacated by James E. Doyle, Sr. the father of Wisconsin Governor James E. Doyle, Jr. Shabaz was confirmed by the Senate on December 9, 1981, and received commission on December 10, 1981.

Shabaz served as the court's Chief Judge from 1996 to 2001[4].

Notable cases

Wisconsin law diploma privilege

Judge Shabaz threw out a lawsuit in 2007 involving the diploma-privilege clause granted to graduates of Marquette Law and Wisconsin Law[5].

On July 9, 2009, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Judge Shabaz acted prematurely in throwing out the lawsuit and ordered the Western District of Wisconsin to re-hear the case. Appeals judges Richard Posner, Ken Ripple, and Diane Wood ruled unanimously to send the case back to district court[5].

  • CLICK HERE for the official Seventh Circuit opinion.


Citing the political climate that has affected recent judicial nominations, Shabaz sent a letter of resignation to President George W. Bush in 2007 stating his intentions that he would announce his retirement from the Federal Bench in October 2007, but in his retirement letter to Bush said he would continue to serve until his successor could take over.[6]

However, Shabaz continued to work as a federal judge through early 2008 while nominations were gathered to eventually present to President Bush contingent on Senate Approval. In February, citing a shoulder injury, Shabaz took a medical leave and has not returned to the bench since his injury.[6]

In September of 2008, Bush announced the nomination of Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Mac Davis, a former Republican legislator, to succeed Shabaz, but his confirmation never came to a full vote before the Senate before it adjourned.[6]

On January 6, 2009, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that Shabaz would seek senior status on January 20, 2009 and that he would leave without a replacement to the bench.[6]

In selecting a replacement for Shabaz, a Federal Selection commission for the State of Wisconsin that governs both the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin and Wisconsin based nominees for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals led by Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold who serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee would make a recommendation to President Barack Obama for his nomination pending Senate approval.[6]

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
James Edward Doyle
Western District of Wisconsin
Seat #1
Succeeded by: