WI Supreme Court Justice Abrahamson reacts to Stevens retirement - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

WI Supreme Court Justice Abrahamson reacts to Stevens retirement

MADISON (WKOW) --- Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson said U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' announced intention to retire represents a loss to the nation's highest court.

"He is fair, neutral and non partisan,"  Abrahamson told candidates to be sworn in as attorneys to the Wisconsin State Bar Friday.

"He realized over the years, conditions change, the law progresses,"   Abrahamson told WKOW27 News.

"He will make a decision on each case, even if it means that it differs from a decision that he might have made in the past."

Stevens wrote in 2008 the death penalty was unconstitutional, after voting to reinstate the use of the death penalty thirty two years earlier.

Like Stevens, Abrahamson has served on a high court for over three decades.   She has a national reputation.

Abrahamson demurred when asked about the prospect of President Obama extending her a nomination to replace Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I'm very happy where I am."

"I never speculate, and I don't accept or reject offers until made."

Federal appellate judges Merrick Garland and Diane Wood have been mentioned as possible front-runners for a presidential nomination.   "I know them both, they're both very good,"  Abrahamson said.

Abrahamson said President Obama will have a good number of qualified people to pick from, including some in Wisconsin, but did not specify who the in-state possibilities are.

Later this month, the Wisconsin Judicial Commission's case against Abrahamson's colleague, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman over the truthfulness of a campaign ad will be before the state's high court.  Gableman could face discipline if justices concur with the commission's position.

"These are very difficult cases, sitting in judgment of one's own colleague,"  Abrahamson told WKOW27 News.

"But we shall do that in the same manner we handle every other case:  Fair, neutral, impartial and non-partisan."

Online reporting by Tony Galli.



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