- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget would bring changes to Wisconsin’s judicial system.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1Cllp6X ) reports that under the proposed spending plan, the state Supreme Court would receive block grants and have more leeway in how it funds its operations and those of trial courts.

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson said the funding change could have unintended effects, saying the budget doesn’t include a way to pay more than 300 court reporters. Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said it’s an oversight that would be fixed.

Under the proposal, Wisconsin’s highest court would also directly control the state Judicial Commission, which investigates allegations of misconduct. Justice Annette Ziegler, who had a complaint filed against her by the commission in 2007, said she’s not convinced it should be under Supreme Court oversight.

Patrick called the change an administrative one. Two other justices have had complaints filed against them by the Judicial Commission.

“If the Judicial Commission is going to investigate members of the Supreme Court, it’s difficult for them to do that to the extent the court has the ability to retaliate against them in some way,” said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

The budget also calls for the salary of the Supreme Court’s chief justice to be lowered to match those of other justices. A move Walker’s office claims will make it easier to raise pay for the other justices.

Wisconsin voters will determine April 7 if the chief justice should be chosen by Supreme Court members, rather than the current system of it automatically being the most senior member of the court.

Walker’s proposal would also eliminate the state’s Judicial Council, which develops new procedural rules for criminal cases and has advised the governor, Supreme Court and legislature. The plan says the Supreme Court could create its own such council if it wants.

___

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.com


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide