I don’t know any of the personalities on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, so I am not going to speculate on how what follows will affect consideration of the budget repair bill.
It appears that the Wisconsin Justices are at war with each other based upon the tendency — allegedly — of one of the Justices to incite others on the court by leaking e-mails and involving outsiders in intra-court disputes.
As reported by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
As the deeply divided state Supreme Court wrestled over whether to force one member off criminal cases last year, Justice David Prosser exploded at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson behind closed doors, calling her a “bitch” and threatening to “destroy” her.
The incident, revealed in interviews as well as e-mails between justices, shows fractures on the court run even deeper than what has been revealed in public sniping in recent years. Problems got so bad that justices on both sides described the court as dysfunctional, and Prosser and others suggested bringing in a third party for help, e-mails show.
Prosser acknowledged the incident recently and said he thought it was becoming public now in an attempt to hurt him politically. Prosser faces Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg in the April 5 election.
He said the outburst came after Abrahamson took steps to undermine him politically and to embarrass him and other court conservatives.
“In the context of this, I said, ‘You are a total bitch,’ ” Prosser said.
“I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted. . . . They (Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley) are masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements. This is bullying and abuse of very, very long standing.”
Why does this not bode well?
JoAnne Kloppenberg, who is a favorite of the Wisconsin unions and has openly criticized Gov. Scott Walker, is running in an election on April 5 against Prosser, and is using the dispute as part of her campaign.
I hope they know something I don’t.
Update: Perhaps they just are highly confident on the legal merits, as this explanation by Marquette Law Prof. Rick Esenberg explains (h/t again to reader Dad29):
Having taken a closer look at the text of Judge Sumi’s decision in Ozanne v. Fitzgerald, I am quite frankly astonished. The court seems to have managed to enjoin publication of the statutory changes in the budget repair bill without addressing any of the difficult issues that the case presents.
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