In baseball, three strikes you’re out. In the Wisconsin Supreme Court, not so much. We learned Sunday that Prosser was caught meddling with evidence in a drunk driving case that is before the high court.
Judges are supposed to decide cases based on facts presented, not information gathered independently. Wisconsin’s ethics code for judges says that in general judges can’t get into discussions with witnesses outside the courtroom.
This is the same Justice Prosser (pictured below over his concuring opinion regarding open records infringement) who was appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson in 1998 and won the Spring 2011 Election over JoAnne Kloppenburg when Waukesha County Clerk, Kathy Nicholas, “found” 16,000 uncounted votes the day after the election. The same Justice Prosser who physically attacked Justice Bradley in chambers. The same Justice Prosser who wrote the majority “short shrift” decision regarding the curtailment of collective bargaining rights for most public workers.
During a closed-door debate between the justices on February 10, 2010, Prosser called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson “a total bitch” and threatened to “destroy her”. ]Wiki
One wonders if the GOP lead legislature is making true his threat with the referendum on today’s ballot to change the manner a Chief Justice is assigned. Currently it is by seniority, the referendum asks that the
assignment be made by a vote of the court which would surely displace Abrahamson on a conservative majority court. In short – VOTE NO.
I really don’t like writing about Prosser, even though I’ve written a bunch mostly about “votes out of the blue” incident in the 2011 Spring Election. Prosser did not win fairly or conclusively. Read “Waukesha KOOL Aid” But that is grist for another mill.
We have a man who has displayed inappropriate, unprofessional, and even violent behavior that would have gotten him fired from a job at the local convenience store, yet he remains in his position on the high court in Wisconsin! At what cost?
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviewed emails following the Prosser “bitch” and “attack” incidents and concluded the Wisconsin High Court was dysfunctional. Pretend you are not in middle school and read the antics:
The 2010 conflict on the court was also criticized as having a potential for lowering court productivity and distracting the focus of the justices. Prosser admitted he overreacted, but justified his statements, saying he had been goaded, bullied and abused by two other justices for a long time, and that the fights were caused by liberal members of the court “ganging up” on him and attempting to create a “foul atmosphere”. He also said the March 2011 revelations of the year-old altercation were an attempt to hurt his bid for re-election. When interviewed in March 2011, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley acknowledged Prosser had had outbursts over the years, but said there had not been one of significant magnitude since February 2010. She also commented that, “he is a good man – but you cannot accurately say he has a steady, even temperament.”Wiki
This is the high court of judicial discernment relating to each other like nine-year-olds in the coat room. Just another indication of the collapse of democracy in Wisconsin. The hope is that today’s election will be the trigger for the new direction Wisconsin needs as much as California needs water.