Federal Judge Asks State Supreme Court To Wait Before Electing New Chief Justice

Hearing Is Set For May 15


A federal judge in Madison is urging the members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court not to elect a new chief until he rules on a lawsuit brought by current Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

Abrahamson’s suit is challenging a constitutional amendment passed by statewide referendum earlier this month that would require the court to elect its own chief every two years.

Robert Peck, the chief’s justice’s attorney, said he hopes the other justices will follow the judge’s advice and defer on electing someone to the post.

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“There is no compelling reason for them to go ahead and select a new chief justice at this time. The term is very close to ending (on) June 30,” Peck said. “It would seem, as the judge put it, ‘wise’ to at least wait until then.”

But attorneys from the state Department of Justice said that once the amendment is certified on April 29, there will be no chief justice and the election of a new one as the amendment calls for should be held as soon as possible.

A hearing is set for May 15.