Several members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court wasted little time in moving to elect a new chief justice.
In a letter filed in federal court on Wednesday, an attorney for Justice Shirley Abrahamson said an email ballot was circulated earlier in the day, which resulted in Justice Patience Roggensack being elevated to chief justice. The letter contends that four out of seven justices participated in the vote, while Abrahamson, along with Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Patrick Crooks, objected to the procedure and did not vote.
The balloting took place just hours after state election officials certified the results of the April 7 election, in which 53 percent of those voting approved a state constitutional amendment that changes the process for selecting the chief justice. Under the change, the court will vote on its leadership, instead of having the most senior member fill that role.
Abrahamson, who has served as chief justice for 19 years, sued in federal court to block the amendment. She argues it should not take effect until after her term ends in 2019. A judge declined to block the amendment from taking place though and the case is not scheduled for another hearing in federal court until mid-May.