Judicial elections, democratic appointment (e.g., senate confirmation), and the Missouri Plan (a/k/a "merit selection")

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Personal and Ideological Clashes on the Wisconsin Supreme Court

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

A day after voters approved changing the state constitution to allow members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court to elect their leader, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson on Wednesday sued the six other members of the court to hold onto her job.

Supporters of the measure — which passed 53% to 47% — had said it would help heal relations on a court that has been marked by personal and ideological clashes in recent years.

Abrahamson, the longest-serving justice in Wisconsin history, filed her lawsuit in federal court in Madison. In it, she contends she should be able to remain chief justice until her term on the court ends in July 2019.
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Abrahamson is a liberal leading a court controlled by conservatives. Over the years, she has clashed, at times fiercely, with both her allies and opponents, and her adversaries saw the constitutional amendment as a way to sideline her.

According to a separate article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, State Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley secured a third, 10-year term on the court, defeating challenger Judge James Daley who "attacked her as a liberal activist."

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