Elect JoAnne Kloppenburg To Stop Political Shenanigans On Wisconsin Supreme Court

The actual makeup of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court is highly important not only for the outcome of cases, but also for how it functions.

Given the attempts by conservatives at both the state and national level to stretch, manipulate, and torture legal reasoning it is vital that liberals and progressives get to the polls Tuesday and cast a ballot for JoAnne Kloppenburg.  The need to support Kloppenburg, an energetic and thoughtful candidate, is a no-brainer given the type of person she faces from competitor Rebecca Bradley.

Bradley keeps mentioning she is the only judge in the race with experience at all levels of the judiciary , and therefore better suited for the Supreme Court.   But she seems to forget that our long tradition in Wisconsin has voters respecting diversity of profession when voting for justices.

In our recent past the majority of those serving on the bench came from outside the court system.  As an example, it is clear that Justice Abrahamson is a remarkable member of the court.  Abrahamson practiced law for 14 years and was a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

On the conservative side an argument might be made for the legal mind of former Assembly Speaker of the Assembly Dave Prosser.  It is clear one can make a strong case for placing a candidate on the bench with real life-problem solving skills.

Kloppenburg brings remarkable skills along with decades of experience in government, teaching, and state bar involvement along with her service as being elected for the Court of Appeals.  Her involvement in a whole series of federal and state cases during her career makes her more than qualified for the job as justice.  The resume of Kloppenburg is simply stunning.

She was a graduate of Yale University who earned a Master in Public Affairs degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School, Kloppenburg interned with Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and clerked with U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb. For two decades she served with Democratic and Republican attorneys general as a top lawyer with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. She began teaching at the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1990 and has served as a mentor with the Dane County Bar Association.

Meanwhile Bradley is known best for her vile written remarks that undermined women, ranted against gays, and scorned those with AIDS.  She has a large stain on her name, but should not be allowed to smear if on the state.  That stain will appear statewide should she be elected.

Bradley is also known for getting to positions only with the assistance of Governor Walker who always places partisanship over substance and merit.

The governor appointed Bradley, a supporter of his partisan campaigns, to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in December 2012. Walker appointed Bradley to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in May 2015. Walker appointed Bradley to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in October 2015.

Being so beholden to partisans is not in the best interest of our state judiciary.

Citizens deserve a Supreme Court that can be viewed as a fair arbiter on the big judicial questions that face the state.  Bradley has proven to be anchored to conservatives and special interest money.   Meanwhile we have seen too many political shenanigans created by conservatives over the past years to allow for another right-winger to be elected.  The removal of Abrahamson as chief justice sums up the level to which conservatives will drop for pettiness.

I  find it sad  that at a time when public approval of our government and public institutions are shrinking the conservatives on the Supreme Court seek to tarnish the court’s reputation.  That trend needs to be reversed and the way to start applying a remedy is by electing JoAnne Kloppenburg.

While this race seems to be tight I trust the better judgement of the voters will come forth like spring flowers and allow for a bright and reasoned justice to be elected.

Her name is JoAnne Kloppenburg.

John Gard Proves He Is Nothing More Than A Republican Party Hack

I recall when John Gard, newly elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly came to his first tourism committee hearing.  Being young and full of himself, Gard sported a crew cut hair style that made me turn to a Democratic member and ask what Eddie Haskell might say at the sight.  If Gard wanted to be noticed that was one way to achieve his goal.

That great memory comes to mind as newspapers around the state today are allowing Gard to garner a little more press time.  John Gard, the failed candidate for Congress is now head deep into the mess surrounding the troubling times of Justice David Prosser.

The fact now proven by Gard’s own words in an email that he was seeking commission members who would prove their conservative credentials, and “not wimp out” underscores yet one more time why the Republicans can be justly painted as the party that abuses the political process.  The process be dammed, let’s get the outcome we desire!

Over and over it has been proven Republicans in the Walker Administration are prone to the most base tactics and purely partisan moves all in the name of advancing their causes.

It reeks!

Gov. Scott Walker relied on recommendations from a former Assembly speaker who once worked for state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser in appointing members of a commission investigating Prosser, newly released records show.

Three of the five people Walker appointed to the state Judicial Commission earlier this year were presented to the governor by former Assembly Speaker John Gard, the president of Wisconsin Businesses Inc. and a former lobbyist for school voucher proponents School Choice Wisconsin.

Gard told an aide to Walker that he had found people for the commission who were “fiercely conservative” and “will never wimp out,” according to an email recently released along with other documents under the state’s open records law. Gard also wrote that he’d told one of the appointees “what we were looking for and (he) said he would do it if needed,” but Gard’s email didn’t provide more specifics than that.

Walker’s appointees won unanimous confirmation from the state Senate in March, but two Democrats who voted to confirm them said they were troubled by Gard’s exchanges with the governor’s office after being shown copies of them.

“The question that immediately popped in my mind (on seeing the email from Gard) is what did John Gard tell them they have to do?” said state Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton). “To me, it’s aimed directly at trying to get rid of the whole Prosser issue.”

“These are not people who require any hand holding – they are fiercely conservative and will never wimp out,” Gard wrote. “There will be no surprises.”

Of Barrette, Gard wrote: “I laid out what we were looking for and (he) said he would do it if needed.”

Erpenbach said he wanted to know more about Gard’s discussions with the appointees and the governor’s office.

David Prosser Said He Touched Justice’s Neck

I bet this is as close as David Prosser has been to a woman in a long time.

Prosser said that his hands made contact with Walsh Bradley’s neck. 

“It’s as simple as that,” Prosser told detectives. “Did my hands touch her neck? Yes, I admit that. Did I try to touch her neck? No, absolutely not. It was a total reflex.”

http://www.channel3000.com/politics/28988095/detail.html

 

Latest News About Justice David Prosser Proves Why Merit Selection For Court Is Required

The news this weekend concerning Justice David Prosser is a text-book example why merit selection must be implemented at the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  While some have mused over merit selection on the editorial pages or in law classes the average citizen, I suspect, is not totally engaged over the reasons this change would benefit the judiciary.

After the news this weekend concerning Prosser, there should be no more mystery about the matter.

First, and foremost, judicial vacancies that are left for the electorial process to fill will doubtless make such races expensive.  Wealthy donors will fill the need for money.

In David Prosser’s case the wealthy not only came, but also brought lots of cash during the recount phase of this last race.  It was a most vulgar display of what is wrong with the system of how we place justices on the court. 

Let me add that my disdain for the current method of electing court justices runs as much against the liberal candidates as it does the conservative ones.  This is not an attack on anyone’s  judicial  philosophy, but instead a deep concern with the process itself.

A Philadelphia philanthropist and his wife gave Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser $100,000 this spring for his recount effort, and three others gave a combined $100,000, records show.

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John Templeton Jr. of Pennsylvania and his wife, Josephine, each gave Prosser’s recount fund $50,000 on April 14. John Templeton Jr. heads the conservative John Templeton Foundation created by his late father, a renowned investor. The foundation had $1.7 billion in assets as of the end of 2009, records show.

John Templeton Jr. has made large political contributions in the past, giving a total of $209,500 to three candidates for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2007, according to the National Institution on Money in State Politics.

 Richard Uihlein of Pleasant Prairie, the owner of shipping supply distributor Uline, gave $50,000.

David Humphreys of Missouri gave $25,000 toward the recount. Humphreys is part of a family that owns Tamko Building Products Inc., which makes roofing products and has been named in numerous asbestos lawsuits, according to the Kansas City Star.

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A quirk of state election law allows candidates to receive unlimited sums during recounts, and Prosser used that opportunity impressively, campaign finance reports show. Over 13 days in April, he collected three $50,000 donations and two $25,000 donations.

In all, he raised $272,887 for his recount efforts. The fundraising was conducted in April and May.

More than $75,000 went to the Troupis Law Office, which is headed by Jim Troupis and has a major First Amendment case before the court Prosser sits on.

Three legal experts said judges and justices cannot hear cases argued by attorneys who have recently done work for them. Prosser plans to remain on the case regardless.

The arrogance displayed by Prosser in the face of the evidence as to why he should not rule on the case is most alarming.  It is for this reason that citizens in Wisconsin must pay more attention to merit selection.  No longer can voters just assume that justice will be handled in the manner we were taught in our civics classes.    There is more money and more chicanery in the system now than ever, and corrective measures must be undertaken to correct the problem.

There are different ways that merit selection can work. But the process would start with a nonpartisan group that would recommend names for the court. Then either the governor or legislature might make the selection. After a set number of years the voters could then vote yes or no on retaining that person for another term. What appeals to me so very much is the idea that the first step in the process would ensure that only highly qualified and thoughtful names would be advanced. The ones with low ethical standards that do not mesh with our ideals, or those without intelligence that reflects our needs would be weeded out.

With merit selection there would be no more stories of wealthy names dumping money into court races, or cases being corrupted with campaign donations.

Justice David Prosser Case Of “Chokehold” Turned Over To Special Prosecutor

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne says he plans to ask a judge to assign a special prosecutor to handle allegations Justice David Prosser attacked one of his colleagues.

The actions of Prosser remain one of the most bizarre that Wisconsin has witnessed in a year where hundreds of thousands of protesters turned out at the statehouse, and a record number of recall elections are being held for members of the legislature.

What must have transpired in the court seems like a bad opening sketch of Saturday Night Live.

One can only image the scene concerning Justice Ann Walsh Bradley as Prosser approached with hands outstretched.  In my mind it is akin to a bad Frankenstein film as a lumbering Prosser edges closer to his colleague.

Bradley has accused Prosser of choking her in a state court office in June.  The incident reportedly took place as the justices deliberated a legal ruling concerning the collective bargaining bill.   It has also been reported there were witnesses.

For the record, and as one might suspect, Prosser has denied the allegations.  After all he might call the Chief Justice a “total bitch” but he would never choke a member of the court. 

Right?

The special prosecutor will hopefully ferret out the truth.

More is at stake here than Prosser’s actions.  The respect of the court, and the image of Wisconsin are also matters that should not be taken lightly.

Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, Ann Walsh Bradley Episode Pathetic And Damaging

“The Court is now in session.  Will the law clerks please bring in the med cart.’

That might be the best way to remedy what is happening in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.  The clerks would not only dispense the meds but check under the tongue of those needing a pill to be sure it was taken.  But please, no massaging of the neck to aid with swallowing!

Plainly put, what is now making headlines in Wisconsin is an embarrassment, and it must be throughly examined.    I can not be the only state resident that finds the stories I have read this weekend pathetic, damaging to the court, and to our state’s reputation. 

No one can be pleased.

Perhaps the news of the state budget being passed and signed into law seemed to imply that all the big news had passed.  There were weeks to go until the recall elections, and the state needed something new to be stunned over.  Citizens needed one more institution to view as unworkable, another set of characters to analyze and be concerned about.

When I first was told that Supreme Court Justice Prosser had allegedly placed a choke hold on Justice Bradley I asked my partner if this was an article from The Onion.  There was no way this could be an actual news story.  He read the headline and lead paragraph again, and reminded me that with all that has taken place so far this year nothing is impossible.

This story clearly has legs, and can lead to nothing but more embarrassment for Wisconsin.  As such I am really disheartened as we are not talking about some kids on a playground that need to be sent to their respective corners, but instead two court justices who are professionals that interpret law and make judicial decisions!

If we can not have these folks ‘play nice’ what is the hope for others in society?  I am tired of others around the nation needing to hear these ridiculous stories and have it reflect on this state and those that live here. 

I was deeply embarrassed when stories abounded earlier this year that Prosser had verbally abused Chief Justice Abrahamson, calling her “a bitch“.  That might be the lingo for some hay-seed state, but should not be uttered here in Wisconsin. 

Now we have serious allegations against Prosser of placing a chokehold on another female justice.   It must be investigated and aired so all can know the facts.  There seems to be a very deep and dysfunctional problem at the Supreme Court.  Since the citizens have been dragged into this affair with the airing of these issues we need to now  better understand what in heck is going on.

There can be no waffling with the truth concerning this matter.  Once and for all citizens need to know what is happening with a candidate who campaigned for a ten-year term and then acts like a fool when given the responsibility to sit on the court.

Until this matter is resolved I seriously suggest we get a med cart filled and roll it out for the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice David Prosser Allegedly Grabbed Justice Ann Walsh Bradley Around Neck, Police Called

This is damn serious!

In a past post I lamented the change that is taking place with Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.  At that time I mentioned he was becoming more partisan, and no longer a nice person.

Today comes shocking allegations that Supreme Court Justice David Prosser placed his hands around the neck of a fellow member of the court.

We all recall that Justice Prosser had called Justice Abrahamson a “total bitch”.  Given Prosser’s past behavior with women on the court might it be time for anger management classes?  Might I also ask how Prosser treats his wife?

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck in an argument in her chambers last week, according to several knowledgeable sources.

Details of the incident, investigated jointly by Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, remain sketchy. The sources spoke on the condition that they not be named.

They say an argument that occurred before the court’s release of a decision upholding a bill to curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employees culminated in a physical altercation in the presence of other justices. Bradley purportedly asked Prosser to leave her office, whereupon Prosser grabbed Bradley by the neck with both hands.

Justice Prosser, contacted Friday afternoon by the Center, declined comment: “I have nothing to say about it.” He repeated this statement after the particulars of the story — including the allegation that there was physical contact between him and Bradley — were described. He did not confirm or deny any part of the reconstructed account.

Bradley also declined comment, telling WPR, “I have nothing to say.”

The sources say Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs was notified of the incident. One source says Tubbs came in to meet with the entire Supreme Court about this matter. Tubbs, contacted by Wisconsin Public Radio, declined to comment.

David Prosser Unable To Recall If He Was At The Governor’s Office After Election

One can be forgiven if unable to recall what was consumed for breakfast last Thursday.  But I suspect one might recall a visit that took place at the Governor’s office.

Right?

Well, actually no.

No, that is if you are Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.

In an interview with WKOW27 News,  state supreme court justice David Prosser denied meeting with Governor Walker the day after voters decided between Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg in a hotly-contested race,  but said it was possible he was at the governor’s office.

How does one handle the reams of paperwork on the high bench, and recall odd bits of law and nuances of legal strategy but then claim not to know if  a visit to the Governor’s office took place!

And might I add a visit at a very critical moment following a massive voter turnout that resulted in a razor-thin difference in the outcome at the time the Prosser visit occurred.  A meeting that took place a day  before thousands of votes turned up in his favor.

I am not suggesting anything….just making a point of  fact.

Are we the idiots for wondering this question, or is Prosser trying to be too cute by half.

I think it only proper that we now ask, and demand answers to the following questions.

Who on the governor’s staff did  Prosser meet with?” 

What contact did Prosser or anyone on his staff have with Walker, or anyone on Walker’s staff?

If I were more snarky I might ask if anyone had a black marker and unmarked ballots.

“It is conceivable that during that week,  I stopped down to the governor’s office,”   Prosser told WKOW27 News

Prosser told WKOW27 News any visit would have been to request gubernatorial mementoes for visiting international students.

In a sworn complaint to the government accountability board seeking a special investigation into Nickolaus’ handling of the vote,  Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken alleged “…Justice Prosser was observed entering the Governor’s Office late in the evening and attending a private,  on (sic) -on-one meeting with Governor Scott Walker”  on the night after the April 5 election.   Mulliken also quotes Walker from that day suggesting votes may turn up “out of the blue.”

“I certainly never went beyond the reception person,”   Prosser told WKOW27 News about his possible presence in the governor’s office.

“I never met with the governor personally in his office.”

One might note by the time the interview concludes Prosser seems more certain that he was indeeed at the Governor’s office.

Really…too cute by half.