Justice Shirley Abrahamson has withdrawn herself from three more cases pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Ahead of arguments in Tuesday’s first case, State v. Emmanuel Earl Trammell, Chief Justice Pat Roggensack told lawyers and observers in the hearing room that Abrahamson’s chair was empty because she had decided not to participate in the case.
Before arguments in the second case started, Roggensack announced that only five justices would be sitting on the case, noting that the seats occupied by Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley were empty because both justices withdrawn themselves from the case.
In a break between the first and second cases, Roggensack had the marshal move down the court’s name tags so that Justices Dan Kelly and Annette Zielger were sitting immediately to Roggensack’s right side, with Ziegler sitting in Abrahamson’s seat and Kelly sitting in Ziegler’s seat. To Roggensack’s left, Justice Rebecca Bradley moved to Ann Walsh Bradley’s seat, and Justice Rebecca Dallet sat in Rebecca Bradley’s seat. Roggensack said she made the changes to make the arrangement easier for the advocates to deal with.
For the third case of the day, Enbridge Energy Co. Inc. v. Dane County, Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Bradley returned to their usual seats following lunch. Roggensack again announced ahead of arguments that the case would be heard only by five justices, but this time, Dallet and Abrahamson would be withdrawing themselves.
Abrahamson declined to participate in all three of the cases on Tuesday morning, said a staff member who answered the phone at Abrahamson’s office. It was not known whether Abrahamson would be withdrawing herself from the remaining cases scheduled for oral argument.
Tuesday is the third time Abrahamson has not taken part in cases scheduled for oral argument. Last week, she withdrew herself from cases the morning they were scheduled for oral argument.
Tuesday was the last day in March of oral arguments. There are two days of oral argument scheduled so far in April.. The court has one day in May reserved for oral argument.