We Must Get To Bottom Of Wisconsin State Supreme Court Mess

‘Now that the mess has been scattered all over the place let’s make sure we clean it up once and for all.’

Isn’t that a message a parent might make in a rather determined way to a child after something that need not have occurred takes places, and then requires a remedy to make sure it never happens again?

The same parental tone and approach needs to be made by the citizens of Wisconsin to the members of the State Supreme Court.

When I can google the Justice Prosser choke-hold story and find it is making headlines all over the nation then it is time to get this mess investigated and sorted out.

As such, I  am pleased to know that two separate investigations are now underway to ascertain what transpired among the members of the court.

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 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.

The sheriff’s office in a statement acknowledged it was taking over the case, but declined further comment.

All members of the court should bend over backwards to amplify and illuminate the issues that have led for the dysfunctional nature of the court to occur in the first place, and then grow to such an extent as to cause a statewide embarrassment.

This is not a good time for the political and democratic institutions in this state.  All year-long there has been a continuing eroding of confidence and support in the systems that are some of the bedrock foundations of our society.  From legislative rancor to the personal animosity on the court there is much to despair over every morning when reading the newspaper.

And it really must come to an end.

Therefore the parties that are investigating what happened to make Justice Prosser snap must get all the facts and present them to the public.  If there needs to be some house cleaning, or group therapy sessions, or a collective demand to ‘lets play nice’…once thing is clear.  What has been allowed to take place must now end.

No one wants to know that our Supreme Court is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.  Lets move forward aggressively with the investigations and then allow for a complete report to be made public.   There should be no sugar-coating or cosmetics applied.  Let the chips fall where they may. 

The public deserves an honest account of what happened, and how it is to be remedied.

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.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Likes Politics More Than Law, Credibility Problem With Court Grows

There is no way to sum up the manner in which the Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruled on the collective bargaining law than to say partisanship and politics made a mockery of the law.

The fact that the ruling was rushed to time with the needs of legislative Republicans who did not want to take another vote on the union issue in the state budget should not surprise anyone.  That the orderly process of how a court reviews and studies complicated issues was thrown out the window so the most expedient political opinion could be rendered is shocking, and should concern us all.

Citizens deserve a Supreme Court that can be viewed as a fair arbiter on the big judicial questions that face the state.  On Tuesday the court’s credibility was severely eroded and its luster dimmed due to political shenanigans. 

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 would act without a full written appellate court opinion from which to start their own proceedings.  Nothing that was done yesterday by the court majority will reverse the sad trend of unease among the citizenry.

We all come up as losers when this happens.

In her dissent, Abrahamson said the high court erred in taking the case up directly instead of waiting for one party or the other to appeal a lower court’s ruling. She singled out Prosser, whose concurrence, she wrote, “is long on rhetoric and long on story-telling that appears to have a partisan slant.”

Abrahamson said she agreed with Justice Patrick Crooks’ separate dissent, that the case should come to the Supreme Court as part of an “orderly appellate review of the circuit court’s order with a full opinion.”

“Only with a reasoned, accurate analysis can a court assure the litigants and the public that a decision is made on the basis of facts and law,” Abrahamson wrote, “free from a judge’s personal ideology and free from external pressure by the executive or legislative branches, by partisan political parties, by public opinion or by special interest groups.”

Crooks wrote that the majority reached “a hasty decision” that doesn’t address important questions about the Legislature’s constitutional requirements to provide public access to its hearings and the courts’ role in holding it to those requirements.

“Those who would rush to judgment on these matters are essentially taking the position that getting this opinion out is more important than doing it right and getting it right,” he wrote. “It is rather astonishing that the court would choose to decide such an unusual and complex case without benefit of a complete record.”

Abrahamsom continued…

But Abrahamson wrote that the order seems to open the court unnecessarily to the charge that the majority has “reached a predetermined conclusion not based on the facts and the law, which undermines the majority’s ultimate decision.”

The majority justices “make their own findings of fact, mischaracterize the parties’ arguments, misinterpret statutes, minimize (if not eliminate) Wisconsin constitutional guarantees, and misstate case law, appearing to silently overrule case law dating back to at least 1891,” Abrahamson wrote.

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.


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.

Waukesha County’s Recount For Supreme Court Starts Off With A Snag

Who could have predicted problems in the recount would occur in Waukesha County?  What is wrong with those folks?

After more than a half-hour of meticulous instructions and ground rules relayed by Waukesha County’s chief canvasser, retired Judge Robert G. Mawdsley, questions were raised about the very first bag of ballots to be counted, from the Town of Brookfield.

As canvassers and tabulators compared a numbered seal on a bag with the number recorded for that bag by a town election inspector who prepared the paperwork on election night, the numbers didn’t match.

“What a great way to start,” one official tabulator said.

Observers from the campaigns of Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg both agreed, however, that the error seemed to be in the inspector’s use of a “2” instead of a “3.” Numbers on the sealing tag and on the bag did match. Both sides and the Board of Canvassers agreed that the bag should be opened and the votes counted.

In addition to the mis-numbered inspection sheet, another matter was the absence of three applications for absentee ballots – detected when all the “R’s” of an alphabetized collection were missing. The applications were summoned from the town hall, and they were reconciled with the absentee ballots, Mawdsley said.

The final question of the morning involved a missing “remade” ballot – a copy of an original absentee ballot that could not be fed through the ballot-reading machines. That occurs, for example, if the voter used pen instead of pencil to connect the arrows on the ballot. The canvass board had five original ballots that could not be fed through machines, but only four copies. The Government Accountability Board was being asked for advice on that matter.

Where Is David Prosser’s Wife?

The other night on television David Prosser told an interviewer that he had been through a nuclear firestorm in the Supreme Court race, but was still standing.  No one can doubt the past weeks have been harsh for Prosser.

The interview made me ponder something.

Where is David Prosser’s wife?

It would seem at this trying time for a (political) candidate that his ‘better’ half should stand alongside him.

At the age of 69 David Prosser must be married.  After all, aren’t most Republican men with solid ‘family values’  married by the time they get to be age 30? Age 69?

Just pondering things and wondering who is standing by his side at trying times like this.

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin Asks U.S. Attorney General To Investigate Supreme Court Election

The mess in Wisconsin resulting from the sloppy (or worse) undertaking of  Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus in relation to this past week’s Supreme Court race will require federal investigation.   I have thought this was the route needed, and folks I have talked with over the last 48 hours think the same.  It is vital that the integrity of the voting process not be allowed to be sullied by anyone in Wisconsin. 

That David Prosser is opposed to having the U.S. Attorney General investigate is troubling.  I would think that everyone would want to get to the bottom of this matter.


U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking for a federal investigation into the handling of vote records in Waukesha County in the wake of Tuesday’s election for the state Supreme Court.

Baldwin’s office said she sent the letter Friday night.

Baldwin wrote Holder: “Following this week’s election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, numerous constituents have contacted me expressing serious doubt that this election was a free and fair one. They fear, as I do, that political interests are manipulating the results.”

Baldwin asked Holder to assign the Justice Department Public Integrity Section, which oversees the federal prosecution of election crimes, to investigate.

In Waukesha County, thousands of votes from the City of Brookfield that were not reported by the county clerk on election night were discovered the day after. Justice David Prosser’s margin of victory in Brookfield helped push him ahead of challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

“We, the people, must be assured that our votes are fairly counted and reported and our democracy remains intact and untainted,” Baldwin wrote.

Gov. Walker Will Next Say “Blame Canada” For Prosser Loss

There are times when it is best to not say anything.  That is true more often than not for politicians who somehow think they need to find a microphone and chat it up.

Such was the case Wednesday when Governor Scott Walker tried to explain what happened across the state on Tuesday when his supreme court candidate lost an election to a little known assistant attorney general.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said the state Supreme Court race was not a referendum on him. 

Walker said Wednesday the election that was too close to call was a choice about two different candidates with different backgrounds. Based on unofficial results, previously unknown JoAnne Kloppenburg led incumbent David Prosser by a razor thin 204 votes.  

Walker said for those who believe the election was a referendum, the votes against Prosser were largely focused in the Madison and Milwaukee. 

Really Governor? 

That is what you took away from this amazing outpouring of voting from Ashland to Jefferson County, from Green Bay to Platteville? 

Are we to believe that Walker does not question his role in explaining the historic voter turnout around the state, or the need to print more ballots in places where they simply ran out of them given the huge voter turn out?

I really hope we have a more introspective Governor than the one who took to the microphone Wednesday.

I strongly suspect that everyone in Wisconsin knows full well what this court race was all about.

It has been abundantly clear for many weeks that Walker and his fellow Republicans in the State Legislature over-reached on the collective bargaining ‘law’.  Not only was the issue not discussed openly in last fall’s election, but once introduced into the legislature this year every slick and under-handed attempt to pass it only deepened the anger felt around the state.

Had there been a trusted advisor near Walker with the gravitas and skills of a Jim Klauser all this may well have shaped up far differently.  But instead of relying on the sage political advice of warriors that have been tested in political battle it seems that Walker likes to go it alone.  Arrogance is a deadly weapon in politics as that is how most self-inflicted wounds happen.

This time Walker not only wounded himself, but helped defeat a sitting court justice, tipped the scales of the county executive in Milwaukee to the Democrats, and also may bring GOP control of the state senate to a series of possible recall elections.

I am sure if asked Walker would not see himself to be a part of the reason this is all happening.  

Based on that we are only one microphone moment away from Walker stating all Republicans should “Blame Canada”,  just like the parents from South Park.

The famed song ends with this line.

We must blame them and cause a fuss
Before somebody thinks of blaming uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus!!!!