Wisconsin Bar Committee Proposes Single, Nonrenewable Term for Justices

July 8, 2013

Following an 18-month study, a Wisconsin state bar task force proposed that supreme court justices serve a single 16-year term. Justices currently serve 10-year terms and may stand for reelection. Though term limits would not stem the tide of candidate and special interest spending in the state's judicial elections, supporters believe term limits could help restore the public's trust in a court that has been plagued in recent years by alleged ethics violations and interpersonal conflicts. At least one legislative leader described the idea as "promising." To amend Wisconsin's constitution, the legislature must approve the proposal in consecutive sessions, followed by approval of a majority of voters. While many states have a mandatory retirement age for judges, Wisconsin would be the only state with judicial term limits.