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State of Wisconsin

History of Reform Efforts: Wisconsin

Formal Changes Since Inception

1848
Circuit court judges elected by the people to six-year terms.

1853
Supreme court created. Justices elected by the people to ten-year terms.

1889
Chief justice determined by seniority, according to constitutional amendment.

1977
Court of appeals created by constitutional amendment. Judges elected by the people to six-year terms.

1983
Governor Earl established by executive order a governor's advisory council on judicial selection to recommend candidates for judicial vacancies.

1987
Governor Thompson restructured the advisory council on judicial selection.

2001
Governor McCallum established a governor's advisory council on judicial selection.

2009
SB 40, known as the Impartial Justice bill, was signed into law. The law creates a public financing system for judicial elections.