Wisconsin Supreme Court Erupts Into Name Calling and Finger Pointing

Wisconsin voters are experiencing a different judicial campaign in the bid of Justice David Prosser to remain on the state Supreme Court. The issue? Prosser calling Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a “total bitch.” Prosser has gone public to say that he did in fact call Abrahamson the name, but he stressed that he meant it. He also promised to “destroy” her. The controversy has now pulled other justices into the fray on both sides.

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.”

As the article below details, there continued to be angry exchanges between the court members.

Ironically, I recently met Abrahamson when I was a panel member at Marquette Law School in Milwaukee. She stayed for the awarding of public interest commendations to law schools and local lawyers and was extremely gracious.

Source: JSOnline found at ABA Journal.

77 thoughts on “Wisconsin Supreme Court Erupts Into Name Calling and Finger Pointing”

  1. Forgive typos. Still swooning over the Jeff Beck thing.

  2. Hmmm..Linnked here rom another site. I think you’re all nuts, and that Prosser is being purposefully pushed out by the “Let’s Play 60’s” crowd that tore up the state house. They don’t seem to like democracy very much.

    However…the laughing baby was funny, and the Jeff Beck clip sublime. Do you think he wears extensions? Lovely hair. (And did you know that Nigel Tufnel was created based on him? Now that I see the video, I know where that odd Nigel tongue action comes rom.)

  3. Blouise,

    I represent that remark. 🙂

    And a shout out to my man, Tex! Woot!


    A lawyer who cannot argue is useless as argument is a key part of constructing and presenting cases. Cases that will have opposing counsel who are arguing that your client’s position is wrong and they and their client (or the state) deserve a judgment in their favor. What you see as simply argumentative is much more complicated that simple contrariness. A good lawyer makes both sides of an argument before they say a word. Why? Because as part of zealous representation of a client, you must be prepared to argue any and all contingent arguments against your client’s position. To fault lawyers for being argumentative makes about as much sense as faulting a mathematician for being good with numbers or a tiger for having claws. It’s a critical part of the job.

  4. Tex literally rode into my life at the age of nineteen and fearlessly swept me out of the arms of my steady boyfriend of 4 years.

    On our first date, a blind date that I didn’t know was a date, and which he had engineered, he told me he was going to marry me. I laughed. Two years later, we married.

    He calls me the benevolent-velvet-boss yet he always seems to get his way.

    He would agree with you that I have him well trained and behind my back the two of you would wink at each other!


  5. Blouise said, “When Buddha isn’t posting regularly (on a trip or ill), this particular troll is dormant and reappears after Buddha has had a couple of days to a week of daily posting. I suspect Buddha caught on to the trend a long time ago and only responds when he’s bored.”

    Am I that transparent? lol :mrgreen:

    So much for being a man of mystery!

    With that kind of insight into the male psyche, I bet you’ve got Tex trained pretty good by now . . . 🙂

  6. rafflaw,

    I usually look for him/her to start appearing on Weds., gearing up through Thurs. and Fri. and then disappearing over the weekend. Sometimes, if they catch on, as Maury(sp) did, they will continue to post through the weekend.

    This particular poster has tacked on some credentials as a form of mockery and is, more than likely, the same one who seeks out Buddha on a consistent basis.

    When Buddha isn’t posting regularly (on a trip or ill), this particular troll is dormant and reappears after Buddha has had a couple of days to a week of daily posting. I suspect Buddha caught on to the trend a long time ago and only responds when he’s bored.

  7. Woosty,
    I saw that baby video. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen!
    Has there been a rapid increase in our visiting “friends” lately or am I just imagining things…again?

  8. Auntee Social, BS, MS, Phd/Uncle of same,

    I’m glad to see you are refraining from the use of avatars … wise move considering …..

  9. Wow

    Canada is looking better and better………

    Wait a minute….how can they do this? Really, how can they actually and tangeably do this without a big gigantic blowback from the upper level courts? This is absurdium….

  10. From Think Progress (3/23/2011)
    Conservatives On Wisconsin Supreme Court Let Corporate Lobbyists Write Judicial Ethics Rules

    Wisconsin elects its Supreme Court justices, but the court’s four conservative justices –including Gov. Scott Walker’s embattled ally Justice David Prosser — all voted to reject an ethics rule that would have prevented them from hearing cases involving their major campaign donors. Instead, the conservative justices enacted a rule written by powerful corporate lobbyists:

    Those justices, including Justice David Prosser, who is running for re-election April 5, voted 4-3 against proposed rules that would have required them and other state judges to recuse themselves from cases in which one of the litigants had contributed more than $1,000 to their election campaign.

    Wisconsin’s League of Women Voters and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign had suggested the rules, which were vigorously opposed by the big business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, and the state’s Realtors Association, both of which are heavy contributors to court races. When they spend a lot of money to elect a justice, of course, they want to make sure the justice gets to vote.

    The four conservative justices not only declined to adopt the league’s suggestions, but instead of writing their own guidelines, they opted to enact without any changes the “rules” written by WMC and the Realtors Association, which leave the decision of whether to recuse to the justices themselves. So much for appearance of judicial conflicts of interest worrying the Wisconsin high court.

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