A legislative proposal introduced Wednesday would breakdown the number of judicial circuit court branches in Milwaukee County by geography.
State Rep. Elizabeth Coggs, D-Milwaukee, is the primary author of Assembly Joint Resolution 101, which recommends dividing the 47 judicial circuit court branches in Milwaukee into subdivisions of no more than 60,000 residents in each and requiring that judges be elected from and reside in the subdivision.
Currently, the state constitution provides that circuit court branches within a county are not divided geographically.
Coggs could not immediately be reached for comment.
Milwaukee County Clerk of Courts John Barrett said the proposal is likely an attempt to promote diversity on the bench.
“I think it’s making a political statement,” he said, “that they want a more broad-based geographic way of electing judges in Milwaukee County for greater representation among minorities on the judiciary.”
But being a constitutional change, Barrett said he doesn’t think the proposal has much chance of success. The resolution would need to pass two successive sessions of the Legislature and then be approved by the public.
“It’s an interesting proposal,” Barrett said, “but I don’t think it has much of a chance.”