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Wisconsin's chief justice opposed to single term idea

  Wisconsin Supreme Court
Wisconsin Supreme Court

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s chief justice is not fond of limiting her future colleagues to one 16-year term.

Shirley Abrahamson says it would not curb the large amount of special interest money we’ve seen in contested races in recent years.

Instead, Abrahamson would like to see justices required to withdraw from cases that involve donors to their campaigns. She said an independent board would enforce the requirement.

Recently, a State Bar Association Task Force proposed a constitutional amendment for a single 16-year term for Supreme Court justices.

Task force chair Joe Troy said there’s no political support for appointing justices, thus taking away the voters’ right to choose them. Troy said political leaders in both parties would favor term limits, and he hopes the Legislature will take up his group’s amendment this fall.

UW-Madison political scientist Barry Burden says he does not believe campaign money would be reduced – but it might encourages to be more independent once on the bench.

The Wisconsin State Journal says the Badger State would be the only one with a single term for the Supreme Court. The 16 years is about how long a justice has served in the recent past. 

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