Bradley: Courts in 'upheaval' over Wisconsin chief justice
MADISON—A Wisconsin Supreme Court justice joined a request to a federal judge Monday to block a change in the state's chief justice.
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley filed an affidavit supporting a preliminary injunction to keep Shirley Abrahamson as chief justice.
Bradley and Abrahamson form a two-justice liberal minority. In her affidavit, Bradley said Wisconsin courts "are in a state of upheaval" because of uncertainty over who is chief justice and for how long.
Wisconsin voters last month approved a constitutional amendment giving justices the power to select the chief justice. Conservative-leaning justices then selected Justice Patience Roggensack. But Abrahamson contends she remains chief justice and is suing in federal court.
Abrahamson, a member of the court since 1976 and chief justice the past 19 years, argues the amendment can't be implemented until the end of her term in four years. A hearing is set for May 15.
According to Bradley's affidavit, Roggensack demanded her pay be raised by $8,000 a year and told staff to put new nameplates on the bench designating her as chief justice and Abrahamson as a justice.
Roggensack has pledged to donate her raise to the Access to Justice Commission, which arranges civil legal services for people who can't afford them.
Roggensack and her attorney did not respond to request for comments from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1bLeL3q ) on Monday. But Roggensack has said she is looking to build more consensus on the court.
In a separate letter Monday, Justice Patrick Crooks, seen as a swing vote on the court, asked U.S. District James Peterson to delay a change in the chief justice, saying the court is in "uncertainty and turmoil" and needs time for a transitional plan.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court meets May 18 for the first time under Roggensack's leadership.