King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, believed to be about 90, passed away last Thursday. Those in the media who are responsible for tracking such things inform us that this leaves Queen Elizabeth II as the eldest reigning monarch.
She beats out Shirley Abrahamson, but not by much.
The current criteria for becoming chief justice include the following:
- Be there longer than anybody else.
Shirley Abrahamson met that standard in August 1996, 20 years after being appointed to the court by Governor Patrick Lucey, seven governors and 39 years ago. She has since presided in a manner characterized by some insiders as “my way or the highway” and led the aggressively leftist bloc that in the last decade asserted such enlightened legal principles as the right to recover damages from a manufacturer whose product cannot be shown to have harmed the plaintiff.
This is the court that Abrahamson’s sidekick, Justice Anne Walsh Bradley, protests will become more political if the chief justice is elected.
Interestingly, the farther left you look, the stronger the objection to electing the chief justice. The reliably hysterical One Wisconsin Now got so worked up it forgot to mention the Koch brothers in its press release.
Oddly, Justice Abrahamson claims that majority rule flies in the face of Democracy. If the ballot measure fails, Queen Shirley will continue to rule until at least 2019.