Emails Show Roggensack Cast Deciding Vote To Become Chief

Despite Vote, Abrahamson Still Reportedly Contends She's Chief Justice

Courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television

Newly released emails show Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack cast the deciding vote for herself to replace longtime Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

The emails exchanged between the justices were released Thursday to The Associated Press by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in response to an open records request.

They show that Justice Michael Gableman made the motion to make Roggensack chief justice during a closed meeting Tuesday attended by all seven justices. Justices began voting Wednesday morning, shortly after the elections board certified passage of a constitutional amendment allowing justices to choose who serves as chief.

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The emails show Abrahamson objected to the motion as not timely.

Abrahamson is suing to block the election, claiming there’s no vacancy for a chief until her 10-year term ends in 2019. Justices Patrick Crooks, Anne Walsh Bradley and Abrahamson didn’t vote and urged the other justices to wait until a federal judge rules on Abrahamson’s lawsuit.

Abrahamson’s attorney filed a letter with the court Wednesday arguing that the election was improper because the votes were cast by email and not in person. The letter also repeated Abrahamson’s claim in her lawsuit that no election should be held until her term ends.

A hearing on that case is set for May 16.