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Proposed amendment would change how chief justice is selected

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin's chief justice would be more likely to have the same philosophy as the majority of the Supreme Court, under a constitutional amendment from a Senate Republican. 

Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst wants the chief justice to be chosen every two years by a majority of the court's 7 members -- and that person could serve no longer than six years in a row. 

Right now, the member with the most seniority is the chief justice, and there's no limit on that term.

Tiffany is asking his co-sponsors to sign onto his amendment, which would have to pass in two consecutive legislative sessions and then by the voters in a statewide referendum. 

Current Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson has held the court's leadership post since 1996. She's one of two liberals on the seven-member court, which has a four-member conservative majority and a swing member. 

The court has had a number of sharp public disagreements in recent years, but things appear to have quieted down over the past year or so.