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MADISON, Wis. - Republican lawmakers are moving closer to changing the way the Wisconsin Supreme Court chooses its chief.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Thursday to have Supreme Court justices elect their chief. The chief justice is currently chosen based on seniority.

The three Democrats on the committee say the resolution is a political move aimed at ousting Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson. The five Republicans say their actions are not politically motivated and that Wisconsinites should have a chance to decide the issue.

If the proposed constitutional amendment passes the Legislature this year, it would then be put to a statewide vote. The earliest that could happen is the April 7 spring election.

A Senate committee also took up the resolution Thursday.

Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Republicans push to have Supreme Court justices elect chief

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