Members of the judicial branch of University of Wisconsin student government elected new officers and amended elections rules for the upcoming Associated Students of Madison fall elections in a meeting Tuesday night.

The Student Judiciary voted to elect Nick Checker as the next chief justice, Kenny Ho as the next vice chief justice and Mickey Stevens to return to the position of student election commission chair.

Checker will replace current Chief Justice Kate Fifield, who said she will resign sometime after the last SJ meeting to be held May 15, because she is graduating.

Checker, who is the current vice chief justice, said he feels he has been a part of SJ long enough to understand the process.

He said as the chief justice he will be assertive and focused on maintaining the strength of the branch and asserting its autonomy in regard to other ASM branches and UW’s administration.

“From the beginning I have asserted my independence in thought … and I really do care about the process that we have here,” he said. “My singular focus as chair will be maintaining the integrity of this branch of student government.”

Checker said he will work to emulate Fifield’s example set as chief justice and that he will also act in the position through his views of “pragmatic restraint” and belief in delegation.

Ho, who was elected as the next vice chief justice without any opponents, said he is excited to have a leadership position and that he sees the position as an “internal coordinator” for SJ. He said he will use his legal background to inform his actions.

Stevens, who ran for SEC chair again after losing the chair position to Checker, said he realized over the past few weeks that he has “a lot of heart left” for the position.

“It’s been a little bit of a baby to me, and I would love to keep nurturing it and making sure that it grows well into a healthy organization,” he said.

He said in continuing with this role he hopes to give the position more “soft power” and use it to change the culture of elections on campus. One way would be to focus on election violations, stressing to candidates that such practices are not worth it.

Regarding the ASM election rules for fall 2012, Stevens sponsored the resolution that tweaked the version used for the last student government elections.

The resolution, which SJ passed, mainly changed language surrounding the violation of “chalking,” changing the rules to specify that candidates may not use aerosol or spray chalk when campaigning and that chalkboards are off-limits.

Fifield, who has been the SJ chief justice for about two years, said it is a little strange to be moving on but she is confident in the body’s future prospects.

“We’ve all worked really hard and I am very confident that everyone who is left behind is going to do a great job,” she said.

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