The Wisconsin Supreme Court scuffle is moving in a direction where Justice Ann Walsh Bradley is going to have to back up her allegations that Justice David Prosser put her in a “choke hold.” As indicated at the link, there are conflicting reports as to who initiated physical contact, and what the physical contact was.
Now my old friend Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney is getting involved. Sherriff Dave, who corresponded with me after I criticized his use of the term “palace guard” during the Wisconsin Statehouse protests, will be leading an investigation.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that at the suggestion of the Chief of the Capitol Police, after consulting with the Supreme Court, Sheriff Dan’s office will conduct an investigation:
Two agencies are investigating a claim by Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley that Justice David Prosser put her in a chokehold earlier this month.
The separate probes are being run by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, which oversees the state’s judicial ethics code. The sheriff’s investigation was launched Monday; the commission’s was authorized Friday and publicly acknowledged on Monday.
“After consulting with members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I have turned over the investigation into an alleged incident in the court’s offices on June 13, 2011 to Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney,” Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said in a statement. “Sheriff Mahoney has agreed to investigate this incident.”
Things are going to get curioser and curioser.
This now has gone too far for both to survive on the Court.
If Justice Bradley charged at Prosser as some reports indicate, then she must resign. Even if Prosser did defend himself in a physical manner, if Bradley initiated things, that’s it.
If Prosser initiated the contact without physical provocation (i.e., not in response to Bradley charging at him), then he should resign.
One of these Justices will be leaving the Court, we just don’t know which one and when.
Update: Nothing is ever simple in Wisconsin. Ann Althouse points out that the Governor appoints a replacement. But what if Prosser leaves before he is sworn in to his new term? That appointment would be for a few weeks, then what? If criminal charges were brought against Prosser (we are a long way from that) would the Governor swear him in? If Bradley goes, then Walker gets to appoint a conservative to replace her.
And, there is a troubling narrative developing using Bradley’s gender as a card, playing on stereotypes of the woman as the necessary victim in any altercation. Here is the final paragraph in the JS article linked above (emphasis mine):
“Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this stunning development is how given all that we have learned about the court in recent years how untroubling many (people) are likely to find this,” said Marquette Law School professor Peter Rofes. “Entirely apart from the obvious violent nature of this act – and the fear it engendered in a female member of the court - as each day passes the people of Wisconsin have less reason to believe that there is very much legitimacy left in this incredibly important institution.”