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State Supreme Court conferences to remain closed

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MADISON (WSAU) Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson tried but failed yesterday to get her Wisconsin Supreme Court colleagues to take a second vote on closing most of its administrative meetings.

In January the four conservative justices on the seven-member court voted to end a 13-year-old practice of holding public meetings to discuss issues like policy changes in Wisconsin courtrooms. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley said nothing good comes from secrecy in governmental affairs. And Abrahamson wanted to put forth a dissent to that effect. But the four conservative justices boycotted the session in which Abrahamson called for a final vote on the matter. Roggensack said the closed conferences had already been approved – and Michael Gableman, David Prosser, and Annette Ziegler joined her in the boycott.

The seven justices did get together later in the day to discuss the Supreme Court’s rules – one of the few things they’ll continue to meet about in public. Roggensack proposed the change. She said closing the conferences would put less of a public emphasis on the court’s long-time personal and philosophical disputes – and the justices could get their decisions out more quickly.

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