August 1, 2015

Federal judge dismisses Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson's effort to win back her position of chief justice.

"Abrahamson filed suit April 8, a day after voters had approved a constitutional amendment to change how the chief justice was elected to a majority vote among the justices every two years."
“The court concludes that Wisconsin’s new method of selecting its chief justice was effective on April 29, 2015, when the referendum was certified, and that the Wisconsin Supreme Court was authorized to implement that method and to elect a new chief justice on that day,” wrote Judge James Peterson in Friday’s decision....
“The court has some misgivings about whether [the Justices' vote to elect Patience Roggensack as their new chief] actually reflects a judicial interpretation of the amendment, because the issue was not presented to the court in the usual manner with advocates presenting the competing positions,” Peterson wrote. “Nor was it resolved in the usual manner, which typically involves at least some measure of deliberation in which all the justices participate. But the down-and-dirty interpretation (which defendants dignify with the term 'de facto') will do for the purposes of this case.”...

“This federal court does not have to guess what that interpretation would be, because on April 29, 2015, the day that the referendum was certified, four justices voted to elect Justice Roggensack as the new chief,” he wrote.
That is, the federal judge wouldn't say what the meaning of the Wisconsin constitutional amendment is, because the state supreme court has authority over the meaning of state law, and by taking the vote for a new chief, the court revealed its interpretation of the amendment. That eliminated the argument that the Wisconsin constitutional amendment should be understood to leave Abrahamson in her old position until her present term ends. Beyond that, there was an argument that it violated due process, under the U.S. Constitution, for the people of Wisconsin to change the method of determining who would be chief justice. The judge rejected that argument.

32 comments:

David Begley said...

How stupid and foolish does Shirley feel now?

Only hope her lawyers leaned forward on those billable hours.

cubanbob said...

Was there even a doubt of how the federal court would rule in this instance? As Meade said at the time, Abrahamson was elected to the court, she was not elected to be chief justice. Considering her antics does WI allow for a recall election for judges and if so, should she be subject to being recalled?

Mike said...

There was a lot of fervent argument on this site that Shirley was right and yadda blather hooey. It went on and on back and forth. All the while the law was pretty obvious as written and WI has a specific implementation in law that said the new law "was effective on April 29, 2015, when the referendum was certified."

I have a feeling this is a day when a lot of trolls will be otherwise occupied and not interested in Crazy Shirley so much. She pretty much choked on this gambit.

Anonymous said...

Considering her antics does WI allow for a recall election for judges and if so, should she be subject to being recalled?

A recall election would be the kindest of responses. Many of the Althouse followers have called to have her tarred and feathered for daring to stand in the way of their Dear Leader's plans for the State and Country.

The mob tastes blood and they want more of it.

Gahrie said...

The mob tastes blood and they want more of it.

After the last four years you are going to describe Walker's supporters as a mob?

Can you say projection?

Bay Area Guy said...

Q: Surely, you would now agree that your legal theory to sue your way back to the position of Chief Justice was frivolous, wasn't it?

SA: It was not frivolous, and I still self-identify as Chief Justice. AND DON'T CALL ME SHIRLEY!

Big Mike said...

Does it occur to Abrahamson or for that matter any Wisconsin Democrats that if they cared more about the needs of the voters and less about their personal power and perks that they maybe wouldn't be in this position?

Probably not.

Mark said...

The mob tastes blood and they want more of it.

Because of course reasonable people would never think of recalling a politician duly elected by a majority of the constituency.

Leslie Graves said...

I'm still surprised she was willing to risk undermining her reputation for legal acuity by filing this lawsuit.

Mike Sylwester said...

The expression down-and-dirty should be added to the list of legal doublets.

aide and abet

all and sundry

acknowledge and confess

alter and change

appropriate and proper


and so forth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_doublet

traditionalguy said...

Is it time to use a choke hold on the old bat yet?

Marty Keller said...

Mike for the thread; madisonfella for the oblivious determination to stick to The Narrative. Can't wait for garage to chime in.

khesanh0802 said...

It's nice to see the court uphold what the PEOPLE decided!

Anonymous said...

David Begley said...
Only hope her lawyers leaned forward on those billable hours.

Don't worry, she is a "Justice", a leftist bureaucrat, so Wis. taxpayers are paying.

Question to Prof. Anne: if the fed judge decided otherwise, the decision ignored by Wis. Supreme, what then? A state supreme doesn't answer to a fed judge, right?

H said...

Somebody has got to say it: This is what democracy looks like.

furious_a said...


It's not over until Shirley wins.

furious_a said...

Shirley's last recourse is trial-by-combat in WI Judicial Fight Club.

furious_a said...
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furious_a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
furious_a said...

You can have Shirley's gavel when you pry it from her cold, dead hands.

Wilbur said...

"(S)he is a "Justice", a leftist bureaucrat, so Wis. taxpayers are paying"

Is that correct? Are taxpayers footing her side of the legal bills? What about the other side?

Just wonderin'.

Achilles said...

madisonfella said...
"Considering her antics does WI allow for a recall election for judges and if so, should she be subject to being recalled?

A recall election would be the kindest of responses. Many of the Althouse followers have called to have her tarred and feathered for daring to stand in the way of their Dear Leader's plans for the State and Country.

The mob tastes blood and they want more of it."

When we start coming at you like you have been coming at us you will be sad. Progressives naturally want to tell others what to do and you spend your energy pushing your crap on us. The rest of us naturally want to be left alone and we go about our lives. But you people wont let us. I would suggest that you let us. We aren't a bunch of unwashed unemployed losers who wander from protest to protest demanding other peoples money be used to pay for our free stuff.

cubanbob said...

madisonfella said...
"Considering her antics does WI allow for a recall election for judges and if so, should she be subject to being recalled?

A recall election would be the kindest of responses. Many of the Althouse followers have called to have her tarred and feathered for daring to stand in the way of their Dear Leader's plans for the State and Country.

The mob tastes blood and they want more of it."

Rich coming from you. Now what was that you said many a time about Walker.....

David said...

"Beyond that, there was an argument that it violated due process, under the U.S. Constitution, for the people of Wisconsin to change the method of determining who would be chief justice. The judge rejected that argument."

Just to state that argument tells you how lubricous it was. Crazytime.

geokstr said...

The conservative majority should have really stuck it to Shirley and elected Prosser to be the new Chief.

Tim said...

The law is clear but we have seen on the US Spreme court how well that works. It's a TAX!

clint said...

So what's the next step?

I know the Wisconsin progressive mantra is: the fight isn't over until we win.

So what's the next step in fighting this?

Connie said...

Love that this story was on the Journal/Sentinel page for about 6 seconds, while "Investigators say Walker’s office obstructed probe 7:18 p.m." spent most of the day on the front page and remains on their "Newswatch" feed.

As for what comes next, Shirley could appeal to the 7th Circuit, but given that this was bounced rather unceremoniously by an Obama District Court judge sitting in Madison I doubt she would get a better reception.

Anonymous said...

geokstr said...

The conservative majority should have really stuck it to Shirley and elected Prosser to be the new Chief.

That would have been SO delightful!

Curious George said...

"madisonfella said...
Considering her antics does WI allow for a recall election for judges and if so, should she be subject to being recalled?

A recall election would be the kindest of responses. Many of the Althouse followers have called to have her tarred and feathered for daring to stand in the way of their Dear Leader's plans for the State and Country.

The mob tastes blood and they want more of it."

Let's see a list and cite examples. Because this is just another invention of your special needs mind.

Curious George said...

Abrahamson said she would not have run for re-election had she known she wasn't going to be Chief.

"She campaigned extensively and expended substantial resources for reelection on that theme of continuity in the chief justice position and would not have sought reelection if there was a question about whether her reelection would retain her in the office of chief justice,” the lawsuit says."

OK, if true, time to resign then you crazy old lady.

Peter said...

This story should have been on the front page of Sunday's printed Journal-Sentinel, but staff there thought finding stuff to bash Scott Walker was more important.