Constitutional amendment passes: Supreme Court will now vote to decide its chief justice

MADISON (AP) — Voters have approved a constitutional amendment changing the way the chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court is chosen.

The seven-member court will now vote to decide their chief justice. For the past 126 years the position has gone to the most senior member of the court.

Shirley Abrahamson has served as chief justice since 1996 and is the longest-serving chief justice in Wisconsin history. She is viewed as part of a liberal minority.

Opponents to the amendment said the Republican-controlled Legislature targeted Abrahamson for removal by putting the question on the ballot.

But supporters say having the justices pick their leader will make the court run better. Only seven states decide chief justice by seniority, while 22 have justices decide.