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Wisconsin Supreme Court limiting time deliberating individual cases

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - In a break from tradition, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is limiting the time it spends in deliberating individual cases.  

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the court voted 5-2 in late May to limit its discussions, at the suggestion of Justice Patrick Crooks.

The court faces a self-imposed June 30th deadline to resolve its cases, and some high profile matters remain to be decided. They include the constitutionality of the Act 10 public union bargaining limits, and whether the UW can ban student fee protester Jeffrey Decker from its campuses.  

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson wrote that 46 of 60 cases are still pending, and the two high profile cases might have to wait until the court's next term in September.

Abrahamson says justices should schedule more deliberation meetings, instead of limiting discussions on each case. She said it would compromise the quality of the Supreme Court's opinions.  

However, the court's four conservatives all agreed with swing justice Crooks. He proposed a 15 minute time limit for the lead authors of opinions pro and con, and five minutes for other justices.

The Journal Sentinel also said an internal e-mail from Crooks indicated that he'll retire in 2016. The 76-year-old Crooks is nearing the end of his second ten-year term.  

There's been speculation about whether Crooks would retire -- and a vacancy could pave the way for outgoing Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to run for the high court.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)