Wis. state bar wants to limit SC justices to a single term

MILWAUKEE (Legal Newsline) -- The State Bar of Wisconsin wants to limit state Supreme Court justices to one, 16-year term in office.

Currently, voters elect justices to 10-year terms with no limit on the number of terms that can be served.

On Tuesday, one of the authors of the proposed constitutional amendment spoke at a Marquette University law school program, "On the Issues with Mike Gousha."

Milwaukee attorney Thomas Shriner said a term limit would help reduce outside political influence on the state's high court.

"We would not have the idea that incumbent justices would be looking over their shoulders to see whether the people who would be giving them money at the next election approve of the way that they're deciding things," he said.

Re-election campaigns in the state have become increasingly expensive and politically charged.

In response, the State Bar of Wisconsin's Board of Governors voted to support the proposed amendment, which was recommended by the bar's Judicial Task Force.

Under the proposal, the governor would continue to appoint justices when a vacancy occurs. However, that justice still would face an election.

The proposed change wouldn't happen until at least 2016. A constitutional amendment has to pass the state legislature in two consecutive sessions before being put on a statewide ballot.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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