Email date: 9/2/11
In this update:
1. A not-so-Supreme Court
2. Prosser probe causes collateral damage . . . and a smidgen of justice
3. Fighting Bob Fest moves to Madison
4. 'Contract Sunshine' is mostly cloudy
A not-so-Supreme Court
Imagine calling a female co-worker a “bitch” and threatening to destroy her, and then calling another co-worker a snake (“viper” to be exact), and finally putting your hands on a third’s neck. You would most likely, in the words of an attorney specializing in employment law, “not last the day.”
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser did all those things and, for the time being anyway, remains on the bench. Back in June, the Democracy Campaign’s director told Madison’s ABC affiliate that if Prosser put his hands on fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley as she alleged, “he has to go.” Prosser now has admitted the allegations were true. Several of his colleagues on the court, including two of his ideological allies, have suggested he needs counseling. He should get the help he needs. But not before taking one other necessary step. The time has come for him to step down.
Prosser probe causes collateral damage . . . and a smidgen of justice
The release of records relating to the criminal investigation into the physical altercation in the Supreme Court chambers laid bare the dysfunctional relations on the state’s high court. The documents also revealed another bizarre twist to the story of judicial in-fighting. Justice Michael Gableman told law enforcement officials that Justice Bradley once struck him on the head. His account seemed implausible to begin with, and Gableman has since changed his story. Whatever his motives, Gableman undoubtedly has done further harm to already damaged relationships on the court. And he has raised further questions about his own credibility, which already was on shaky ground after he was charged with judicial misconduct in 2008 for lying about an opponent in a campaign ad.
It’s quite possible Justice Prosser’s lead role in this stranger-than-fiction soap opera has had at least one beneficial effect. Prosser bowed out of a campaign finance case the court will begin hearing next week after insisting all along that he could be impartial despite a clear conflict of interest. With all the negative attention he is receiving, perhaps he decided he could no longer afford the additional public relations hit that would come with stubborn insistence on participating in the case.
Thank you to all who responded to our recent E-Lert and took action to urge Prosser to step aside in this case. Your voices were heard and heeded.
Fighting Bob Fest moves to Madison
The 10th annual Fighting Bob Fest will be held in Madison on Saturday, September 17 after calling the Sauk County Fairgrounds its home for the first nine years. WDC director Mike McCabe will be speaking on the main stage in the morning. The Democracy Campaign also will have a booth in the exhibit area. Hope to see you there.
‘Contract Sunshine’ is mostly cloudy
A new online system that is supposed to give the public the ability to track how taxpayer money is being used under state contracts is of little use because of poor design and inaccurate information, according to state audit of the so-called “Contract Sunshine” project.