Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Long Live the New Chief
On Tuesday by about 50,000 votes Wisconsin voters decided to make the Chief Justice position in Wisconsin elected by his or hers piers. Previously the Chief Justice was the person who had the longest tenure on the court.
The argument against the change was twofold. One was that people voted for Shirley Abrahamson in her last election knowing she would be the Chief Justice upon election. I find this an interesting point of view. The question I have is that would have people not voted for her if she was not the senior Justice on the court? Of course not, so this argument seems mute. Plus if you walked up to 10 people at the grocery store and asked them who the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court was, I'd hazard a guess you might find one who knows.
The other point was that this constitutional change was a pointed attack at Abrahamson and her leadership of the Court, or her lack thereof.
I'll be one of the few conservatives who will admit this was probably one of the motives. But then I wonder if she would have been more cooperative with the other Justices and ran the Court more even handed then this would not have been an issue to begin with.
One of the advantages of the new law is that the Chief Justice will be voted on by the members of the Supreme Court every two years. For one to continue on as Chief Justice they will have to be more open to working with the other Justices on the Court or they will be replaced. This is a wise move.
Now she shows her contempt toward the citizens by filing a law suit to keep her gig as Chief for another four years. There is no doubt that she is anticipating a demotion when the law is enacted adding evidence that her leadership has been less than inspiring.
She has every right to fight for her current position, but when she loses this lawsuit her standing as serious jurist will take a hit.