Vote No on Supreme Court Chief Justice Amendment

Supreme Court Chief Justice Amendment

Tuesday, April 7th

Tuesday, April 7th there is a constitutional amendment on the ballot. The Amendment is a political power grab to undermine the public’s right to decide who is the chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

On the surface this seems like a small change but really it is a highly partisan proposal designed to undermine the will of the voters. For the first time in 126 years, the Chief Justice would not be the most senior and experienced member of the court as the state Constitution has long required, but would be selected by 4 judges – instead of all of us voters.  

These politicians are trying to re-write our state constitution to make it easier for the Supreme Court to IGNORE voters and public opinion when it chooses the Chief Justice. That’s why Citizen Action of Wisconsin is urging you to join your neighbors in voting NO on Question 1 on April 7.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Amendment:

I’ve heard that only five states pick the Chief Justice the way Wisconsin does. Doesn’t this change put us in line with other states?

  • For 125 years, this law has existed in Wisconsin and has served us well. The people of Wisconsin voted in the last Chief Justice and they expect that to be honored. Politicians rammed this through as an attack on the Chief Justice.

This seems like a reasonable, technical change. Why shouldn’t I support it?

  • This is amendment is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a shameless partisan power grab by one party to consolidate power on the bench. If legislators really wanted to make improvements to the Court, they should study the issue, identify what problems they’re trying to address, and find a bipartisan solution.

When would the law go into effect?

  • The law goes into effect immediately. They could have waited until the end of the current Chief Justice’s term but they decided not to. This is why it’s clear that this is an attack on the current Chief Justice and not an actual attempt to better the courts.

If you’re accusing legislators of a partisan effort to change the ideological leadership of the court, couldn’t your effort to preserve it be seen as equally partisan? We all know what the practical effect of the failure of Question 1 will be – the court keeps its progressive leadership with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson. 

  • There is an important difference between politicians’ efforts to influence the courts, which can have enormous consequences for all our rights, and work by fair-courts advocates to protect courts from political tampering.  Courts must keep their ability to be accountable only to the constitution and the law – not politicians in any statehouse. 

What day is Election Day?

  • Election Day is Tuesday, April 7. Polls are open from 7:00am-8:00pm

Where do I vote?

Can I Register at the polls?

  • Yes. You can register at the polls

Will I need a photo ID when I vote?

  • NO.

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