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Wisconsin will be losing a Supreme Court Justice, we just don’t know which one yet

Wisconsin will be losing a Supreme Court Justice, we just don’t know which one yet

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.”


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[…] PROFESSOR JACOBSON: Wisconsin Will Be Losing A Supreme Court Justice — We Just Don’t Know Which One Yet. […]

I predict that no one will be resigning over the incident.

[…] way or another, Wisconsin is going to lose at least one Supreme Court Judge. And the replacement(s) will be made by Scott […]

[…] entertains. It only reminds the public how many more corrupt politicians there are to go. Recently, two Wisconsin Supreme Court justices fought a wrestling match in chambers, an incident that is now going to be investigated by two […]

JimMtnViewCaUSA | June 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Yeah, I’m betting with TomB on this one.
But, we could be wrong.

Prosser can hold out until August 2 if he has to.

Let’s see if I understand this: These two are judges on the Wisconsin supreme court, right? Both were involved in the same incident, at the same time, right? Neither is capable of assessing what happened during the incident, right? (Judges on the Wisconsin supreme court?) One is perpetrator, the other victim? (Judges, we’re sure?) The perpetrator (should) (must) (will) step down voluntarily, right? (Judges?) Neither knows that he/she (PC here) is (is willing) to admit being the perpetator? So, someone, not a judge, will assign guilt and the guilty judge will step down voluntarily, right? And the survivor is a judge on a the Wisconsin supreme court.

And Eric Holder will still be the Attorney General of the United States. And I’m the King of Siam. Siam may be in better shape than either the United States or Wisconsin.

If Justice Bradley resigns, the Left will go totally bonkers. And you thought the circus was in town before….

If Bradley doesn’t resign, perhaps Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson should step down. (My sentiments are with Greta Van Susteren on this.) If the CJ can’t do any better than this in managing the court, perhaps it’s time to go.

Anyone that thinks this incident is coincidental to the unions hate and the Democrats political shenanigans (but I repeat myself) should think again.

Just because paranoids are mentally ill doesn’t mean they don’t have enemies.

Thus the initial ‘leaking’ of the incident and the cooperation by AP in covering the whole story. I’m not sure if the true story came out accidentally or if someone present decided this was a step too far down the road of a court coup d’etat or was trying to defend Prosser or hates Bradley’s guts and didn’t want her and her pals to get away with lying.

Democrats don’t like democracy. Ironic isn’t it?

    EllisWyatt in reply to jakee308. | June 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Couldn’t agree more jakee308. I wouldn’t put it past the union thugs to pressure Bradley to provoke an incident with Prosser just to create bad publicity for him.

Carol Herman | June 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm

At best, this is just crazy speculation.

Prosser is a victim of a smear campaign.

The passing around of responsibility on how the choke hold happened? The whole court’s been disgraced. (Except for the crook. Who wasn’t there.)

Seems to me if judges can’t notice that the dignity of the court went up in flames; then they don’t know what George Soros is paying for!

Why are they letting Soros buy this hatchet job?

Bradley’s BIGGER than Prosser! And, from the story, so far, no one says she didn’t pounce out of her chair, with arms and fist flailing at Prosser’s face.

The other thing to notice right off the bat? Shirley Abrahamson has no control over her court! And, the “subject” for the meeting? The attempt by the minority to surpress the publication of a FINISHED OPINION. I guess if the Bar gets involved, they’ll have to fire everybody.

I don’t believe that Bradley would resign if she was found to be in the wrong. Only conservatives do the honorable thing.

On March 22, 2011, Jonathan Turley, another distinguished law professor blogger like Ann Althouse, posted in his blog a reflection on the dysfunction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court – “Wisconsin Supreme Court Erupts Into Name Calling and Finger Pointing”. The thesis of his post was concerned with Prosser’s outburst against the court‘s leader, Shirley Abrahamson, wherein he called her a bitch and threatened to destroy her. But what is most interesting is his inclusion of an email that Justice Patience Roggensack sent to Justice Bradley after Bradley sent out an email about this ‘bitch calling’ incident.

Turley’s post gives an insight into something no one is talking about now that this new Bradley vs Prosser accusation has been launched. Where is the court leader Abrahamson showing leadership or any effort to solve the dysfunction? In any other workplace in America, the leaders would be required to mitigate and minimize workplace conflicts. Just because there is no power to dismiss a sitting judge (an option also available to workplaces outside of a Supreme Court) , can’t a Chief Justice make efforts to protect the workplace for everyone and work with third parties (if needed) to ameliorate tensions and behaviors that are imagined in this story of Bradley going public with an accusation that one of her court colleagues attempted to choke her?

In absence of such leadership in the court, we have the situation we have now where it is clear that Prosser (and perhaps Bradley) need to issue restraining orders against each other in a local court to simply come to work and enjoy a modicum of safety.
Prosser insists that Abrahamson was working against him politically as well as other court conservatives. He said that he “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.”
Bradley recounted the confrontation in an email: “In a fit of temper, you were screaming at the chief; calling her a ‘bitch,’ threatening her with ‘. . . I will destroy you’; and describing the means of destruction as a war against her ‘and it won’t be a ground war.’”
Bradley’s email led another justice to criticize her for airing the issue to a wider audience. Justice Patience Roggensack wrote to Bradley, stating
“You were trying to make David look bad in the eyes of others, as a person who uses language that we all find offensive – and I include David in that ‘we,’  . . .Do you think that copying others on your e-mail increased the collegiality of the court or decreased it?
You are a very active participant in the dysfunctional way we carry-on. (As am I.) You often goad other justices by pushing and pushing in conference in a way that is simply rude and completely nonproductive. That is what happened when David lost his cool. He is not a man who attacks others without provocation. Until you realize that you are an active part of the provocation, not much will change. Perhaps a third party will help you realize that you are not part of the solution; you are part of the problem.”
Despite the aphoristic clichés in this email, it is clear that Justice Roggensack was asking Bradley to seek third party help. We should listen to her and support our court.
Now – because Chief Justice Abrahamson is not speaking out in a rather Machiavellian manner (which suggests she is playing major political games by pitting the Justices against each other) – we the public need to heed Justice Roggenstack’s request that a third party counselor or Ombudsman be assigned (from the court’s own budget – by the way – so they might have to fund fewer conferences and extracurriculars).
We need a well functioning Supreme Court and – when the Chief Justice refuses to work for functionality and may even be contributing to purposeful dysfunction – we probably need a new Chief Justice.
Here is the link to Turley’s March 22 post:

You know what is going to happen with this? The Sheriff’s office will investigate, will spend 3 months screwing around, and then whatever District Attorney is in charge will say that there is insufficient evidence to file charges against EITHER party (in order to protect Bradley, and because if they file against Prosser, they would then have to prove it, and failing would be VERY bad for them politically).

Long story short, this is a (VERY weak) attempt at a political smear campaign to try to damage Prosser’s future rulings, and the rulings of the WI Supreme Court. After winning his election HANDS DOWN, the Liberal Slime needed a way to claim that he is an “illegitimate justice” and his opinions should be given no weight by future courts when they try desperately to overturn the good work that Gov. Walker and the Republican Controlled Legislature are doing.

Bradley won’t go unless she’s charged with the class H felony, and even then, the Libs will ask her to take a “leave of absence” until the charges are resolved rather than resigning and allowing Walker to appoint a super-Conservative.

    This was a punt to someone who will operate in a partisan manner. Not only is the Dane County Sheriff a Democrat, but he appeared in an ad endorsing Shirley Abrahamson in her 2009 re-election bid.

    That goes to how this became public a significant amount of time after the incident. What most-likely happened after the incident and before the latest slander campaign began is the Capitol Police investigated, found insufficient evidence to charge anybody (which would tend to support the under-reported version of the incident of Walsh charging and Prosser defending), and told all 7 members of the Court to maintain decorum.

One of the things I’m finding interesting about this whole thing is the reaction of those on the Left.

You’d think so soon after they spent the better part of a week defending Anthony Weiner – only to get burned to a crisp – that they’d be a bit more cautious before going all-in next time without knowing the facts.

But read their comments. It’s like the Weiner situation never happened. They are just as sure now as they were then that it’s all nefarious intent by the Republicans. That there’s just no way the most logical outcome is Bradley being the instigator here.

Heck, I even read somewhere that Prosser should be charged with attempted murder.

Only a very few people know what actually happened – and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a Rashomon come out of all this. But is that stopping the Left? Nope. Not in the least.

A very savvy and well-connected PM Radio guy here in Milwaukee observed that Abrahamson and Bradley view themselves as Intellectually Superior to the other Justices. FAR superior.

It’s one reason that Justice Bablitch “retired” from the Court; He couldn’t stand those two……ahhhh…..babes any more.

To re-state a meme which makes the most sense: the Liberals are losing; they lost the Assembly, Senate, and GOvernor’s office in November and lost (again) a SCOWI race in April.

The Left cannot STAND losing in the court of public opinion, and they react very badly, indeed.

[…] Jacobson declares that one of those two WI Supreme Court Justices will be out, after the multiple investigations are […]

I feel sorry for the people of Wisconsin. This crap is getting old.

Teresamerica | June 27, 2011 at 9:35 pm

This seems like a retaliatory tactic by the Left because their judge lost the election. This whole incident is so weird and I fear it’s only going to get weirder.

Having Dane County Sheriff Dan Mahoney investigate this is rather like having Richard Nixon investigate Watergate. Mahoney has a dog in this fight and that dog ain’t Prosser.

Lumiere, you hit the gold mine. See this:

…before the videos get pulled from the ‘net.

I have no dog in this fight, but Proser is a complete douche. Check him out for yourself.

When he was a DA in Wisconsin in the late 1970s he let a priest go for molesting children. He had a “conversation” with the bishop and the priest was reassigned. The priest went on to abuse more kids and was sentenced to prison in 2004. Prosser recently defended his actions by saying that puting the priest on trial would be harmful to the family of the molested children (brothers). Jeez.

And he admited to calling the chief justice a “total bi*ch” and threatened to “destroy” her a year ago. Later the chief justice accepted his apology, gave him some praise but said that Prosser has a heck of a temper.

By the way, there were witnesses to this event. So, we’ll see what’s what. My guess is that he let his temper get the best of him.

Geez, Martin, if you are going to be a troll, you need to do a better job of it. The molestation thing that you allude to was based on an attack ad by a Joanne Kloppenhag support group against Prosser – it was so distorted and inaccurate that the victim asked them to pull it. Of course they didn’t – it was directed at idiots like you.

Alan Markus
It’s Milton. But that’s fine. I didn’t know about the attack ad. Never saw it. I read the info in an online bio. The names of the victims weren’t mentioned.

Again, I don’t know much about the politics of the court. I just think the guys a douche. But that IS politics now, I guess. “If the guy is a douche, and he’s on my side, then he’s OK.”

He let a child molester go to molest more children. But that’s fine because he’s a righty and it was part of an attack ad?

By the way, there were witnesses to this event. – Martin

Yes. We know this, Martin. It’s one of the points we’ve been making.

And with all these people witnessing an adult male allegedly putting his hands around the neck of a female colleague, don’t you find it just a bit curious nobody said a word about it until 11 days after it supposedly happened? I certainly do.

Now, as long as we’re making guesses here, I’m guessing the person who’s getting her ass kicked politically is the one who flew off the handle, and initiated the confrontation.

I’ve seen the claim (but can’t provide a source) that Justice Prosser is the one who contacted the Wisconsin Judicial Commission and requested an investigation.

This should be entertaining.

Hey Milton, I have just one question for ya. If Judge Prosser is such a supposed “bad guy” for supposedly “letting go” a priest who molested a child, why is it that the victim in that molestation case cut a commercial supporting Judge Prosser in the recent election? This is Legal Insurrection, not your comfortable Huffy Poo or Daily Krap garbage websites, we hold to a higher standard here, it’s called the truth. Go back to trolling your shit on the brainless “progressive” sites you call home, you’ll gain no traction or converts here.

    Milton in reply to Weirddave. | June 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Which victim cut the commercial? The two brothers, or the subsequent number of victims the priest abused after Prosser declined to prosecute?

    Perhaps I’m being to hard on Prosser. I’d guess that every DA has cases like this; cases that got away. Deals are made and they go bad. Sometimes a deal is made and a criminal reoffends. It’s the system, I suppose. Being a DA has got to be difficult.

    Still, it gnaws at me.

I would like to see Bradley resign…
….do you know how insane the progressives and the whole left would get? That would pure entertainment…

[…] prediction is when the “investigation” fails to find evidence of an assault by Prosser the left will fall back on “corrupt” capital police covering things up and will use this…. This will of course not fly with the general public but will fly with the “true […]

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Maybe Justice Abrahamson does not want to control this dysfunctional court. Maybe she has another agenda, such as “weak female attacked by strong male”.

Justice Patience Roggensack seems like she would have controlled the situation, although I know nothing about her personally. I have based this on what I read in kathteach’s statement.

And these are the people who judge US? The inmates are running the asylum.

[…] entertains. It only reminds the public how many more corrupt politicians there are to go. Recently, two Wisconsin Supreme Court justices fought a wrestling match in chambers, an incident that is now going to be investigated by two […]

WI Supreme court: a class act.

[…] at Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson writes: This now has gone too far for both to survive on the […]