Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Amendment (2016)

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A Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Amendment may appear on the November 8, 2016 ballot in Wisconsin as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would provide for the election of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice by a majority of the justices serving on the court. The justice would serve a two year term.[1]

Currently, the Chief Justice, according to the Wisconsin Constitution, is appointed based on seniority from the pool of justices sitting on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson has served as the court's chief justice since 1996. She's considered a "liberal," but the court majority is considered "conservative," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The amendment, upon ballot certification and voter approval, would allow the court majority to pick the chief justice.[2]

Text of measure

Constitutional changes

SJR 57 would amend Section 4 of Article VII of the Constitution of Wisconsin to read:[1]

Section 4 (2) The justice having been longest a continuous member of said court, or in case 2 or more such justices shall have served for the same length of time, the justice whose term first expires, shall be the chief justice. The chief justice of the supreme court shall be elected for a term of 2 years by a majority of the justices then serving on the court. The justice so designated as chief justice may, irrevocably, decline to serve as chief justice or resign as chief justice but continue to serve as a justice of the supreme court.

Support

Supporters

The following officials sponsored the amendment:[3]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Wisconsin Constitution

The Wisconsin State Legislature is required to approve the amendment by majority vote in two successive sessions. The Wisconsin Senate approved the amendment for the first time on November 11, 2013. The Wisconsin Assembly approved the amendment for the first time on November 14, 2013.[3]

See also

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References