Wednesday, April 29, 2015

State high court quickly ousts Shirley Abrahamson as chief justice

Patrick Marley reported at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"Conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court picked Justice Patience Roggensack as their new leader Wednesday, dumping longtime Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson after voters approved changing how the head of the court is selected.

"Four justices on the seven-member court voted to put Roggensack in charge just hours after state election officials certified the April 7 referendum results, allowing court members to choose the chief justice.
[...]
"'The issue of whether constitutional amendment is to be applied retroactively is currently before a federal judge,' [Justice Ann Walsh] Bradley said. 'Any vote now appears premature.'

"'The federal judge states his wish No. 1 would be to get a full decision on the merits before there is an election of a new chief justice. We should honor his directive.'

"Justice Michael Gableman, who backed Roggensack, quoted the same judge to argue the vote wasn't premature.

"'Part of the judge's written decision when he denied Chief Justice Abrahamson's request for a temporary restraining order to block the members of the court from voting for a new chief justice reads: When and how to implement a duly passed amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution is a question of state law, not federal law,' Gableman said."