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Proposed amendment would take away right to elect State Supreme Court justices

Voters would lose their right to elect State Supreme Court justices under a constitutional amendment proposed Monday.

Rep. Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee, says the right has been abused by big-money campaigns.

Kessler, a former circuit judge, proposes that governors appoint all justices and the Senate would have to confirm them.

After their 10-year terms are up, Kessler says they should automatically be re-appointed unless 13 of the 33 senators object.

In that case, the governor would have to appoint somebody else.

In the meantime, the April 1 Supreme Court election continues to heat up.

Incumbent Louis Butler has $228,000 on hand, about twice as much as Burnett County Judge Michael Gableman.

Those figures are dwarfed by the millions special interest groups are spending.

Observers expect the total to be more than last year, when almost $6 million was spent on the race.

Butler and Gableman will debate each other today (Tuesday) in a forum put on by the State Bar.

You'll get to see both on Friday, in a We the People forum to be shown on Wisconsin Public Television.