MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Assembly has passed a constitutional amendment that would end the 124-year practice of having the most senior member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court serve as chief justice.
All Republicans voted Thursday for the amendment with all Democrats against. The Senate passed it earlier this week. It must clear the full Legislature again next session and clear a vote of the people before taking effect.
Under the change, the chief justice would be selected every two years by a vote of the seven-member court.
Democrats say the change is designed to remove current Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson from the post she’s held for 17 years. Republicans say it makes more sense to have the court select its leader, rather than have it fall automatically to the longest-serving justice.