Wisconsin's longtime chief justice reelected

Chris Rizo Apr. 7, 2009, 10:19pm

Shirley Abrahamson

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline)-Wisconsin's longtime chief justice was elected to a fourth term on the state's high court, beating out a conservative state judge who sought to oust her.

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who has been on the state Supreme Court for 33 years, handily defeated Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Randy Koschnick for another 10-year stint on the high court, preliminary results indicate.

With 28 percent of precincts reporting, Abrahamson led Koschnick 58 percent to 42 percent in the nonpartisan race.

Abrahamson, 75, waged an aggressive campaign, touting her record on the high court and the widespread support she had from state and local officials.

For his part, Koschnick, 49, campaigned as a judicial conservative and accused the chief justice of being an activist judge who was allied with trial lawyers and favored plaintiffs in civil suits.

Even so, Koschnick was unable to get political muscle from some of the state's large business groups behind his campaign. The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce sat out the race, despite being heavily active in previous state Supreme Court races.

Abrahamson's win makes her the second justice in Wisconsin history to be elected to the court four times. She became the Badger State's first female justice when she was appointed by Democratic Gov. Pat Lucey in 1976. She won re-election in 1979, 1989 and 1999.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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