The Wisconsin Department of Justice is asking a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who is fighting a recently approved constitutional amendment that changes the process for selecting the chief justice of the high court.
The amendment, approved by voters last month, requires members of the court to select their leader, instead of having the most senior justice serve in the role. Abrahamson, who held the position of chief justice from 1996 until last week, has argued the amendment should not be allowed to take effect until her current term ends in 2019. However, four of the seven justices on the court voted last week to replace her with Justice Patience Roggensack, just hours after the results of the April 7 election that approved the amendment were certified.
In federal court filing on Monday, the DOJ argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because Abrahamson received her due process, she did not state a legal claim for relief, and the state acted rationally in changing the way the chief justice is chosen.
In a separate filing, five members of the court argued that Abrahamson was never actually elected to be chief justice of the court, so she has no grounds to sue to hold the position.
Abrahamson’s lawsuit continues in federal court, with a hearing scheduled for May 15.