Members of the state Supreme Court now have the power to select their chief justice, but how or when that will happen still remains unknown.
About 53 percent of Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment earlier this month that amendment will have future chief justices elected by a majority of the court, instead of the current process in which the most senior member fills that seat. The state Government Accountability Board certified the results of the April 7 election Wednesday morning.
An ongoing lawsuit from Justice Shirley Abrahamson has thrown confusion over how to proceed though. Abrahamson, who held the title of chief justice when the amendment was approved by voters, has argued that she should retain her leadership role until her current ten year term ends in 2019. She contends it was among the reasons voters reelected her in 2009. However, five of the six other justices on the court have countered that Abrahamson lost her title as soon as the election results were certified.
A federal judge declined to put the amendment on hold while Abrahamson’s lawsuit makes its way through the courts. However, officials with the state Supreme Court have not yet indicated when a vote on a new leader will take place.