Wisconsin Conservative Justices Accused Of Adopting Ethics Rules Written By Corporate Lobbyists

Recently, we saw how Wisconsin Justice David Prosser is running for reelection after calling Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a “total bitch.” Throwing aside notions of judicial decorum, Prosser has insisted that he meant every word, including his promise to “destroy” her. Now, it has been disclosed that Prosser and three of his fellow conservative justices voted to rejected an ethics rule barring them from hearing cases of major campaign contributors and then reportedly adopted a rule drafted by corporate lobbyists.

Prosser and his colleague voted against a rule that would have bar them and other state judges from hearing cases involving parties who gave them more than $1,000 in their campaigns. It was strongly supported by public interest groups and opposed by business and manufacturing groups. The justice reportedly adopted without change rules
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 the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), and the Realtors Association.

His is also being criticized for this dismissal of an ethics complaint against conservative Justice Michael Gableman.

Source: Think Progress

33 thoughts on “Wisconsin Conservative Justices Accused Of Adopting Ethics Rules Written By Corporate Lobbyists”

  1. Swarthmore mom, another a**hole appointed to office. This story actually gives me some hope; a person that out of control is probably going to screw up in the future and may find himself removed from office before his 10 year term is up. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  2. But! But! She MADE me do it, Mom!!

    “Walker Ally Justice David Prosser On ‘Bitch’ Comment: ‘This Was Not All My Fault!’
    Voters in Wisconsin head to the polls today to consider candidates for the state’s Supreme Court, including Justice David Prosser, a close Republican ally of Gov. Scott Walker (R). Prosser has been embroiled in scandal in recent weeks after emails revealed that he called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a “bitch” and threatened to “destroy” her. Prosser has since apologized for his outburst at Abrahamson — the first woman to sit on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court — but appearing on Fox News last night, Prosser expressed little contrition. Saying he was caught in a “trap,” Prosser explained, “this was not all my fault”:

    PROSSER: They were not only setting a trap, they were kind of massaging the record, and changing the record. … It was not good behavior on my part, but I have to say, this was not all my fault! There was some provocation here. There were a whole series of incidents that lead up to an explosion.

    Watch it:


    Later in the interview, Prosser said, “I want to be known not as the partisan politician that I once was, but as an honorable independent judge committed to impartiality.” But Prosser has billed his reelection campaign as being about “protecting the conservative judicial majority and acting as a common sense complement to both the new [Walker] administration and Legislature.”


  3. a Palin endorsement makes sense….I’m going into my cave now…..

  4. TPMDC
    Wis. Justice Prosser Loses Endorsement Of Former Dem Gov, Gains Sarah Palin
    Eric Kleefeld | April 1, 2011

    In the latest development in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election fight — which has quickly gone from a sleepy, nominally non-partisan race to a proxy political battle over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union bill — incumbent Justice David Prosser has now lost the endorsement of former Democratic Gov. Patrick Lucey, who had been serving as an honorary campaign co-chair but has now switched to the challenger, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

    And in a further sign of this election becoming a partisan, nationally-watched race, Sarah Palin has posted a tweet endorsing Prosser. The election will be held this Tuesday, April 5.

    The Wisconsin State Journal reports:

    Lucey said in a statement that he has followed Prosser’s campaign “with increasing dismay and now alarm,” adding that “Prosser has lost that most crucial of characteristics for a Supreme Court Justice — as for any judge — even-handed impartiality.”

    Lucey also cited Prosser’s “disturbing distemper and lack of civility that does not bode well for the High Court in the face of demands that are sure to be placed on it in these times of great political and legal volatility.”

    The reference to civility could possibly be a reference to the recent reports that Prosser, in a heated argument last year, called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson — whom Lucey had originally appointed to a vacancy on the court back in 1976 — a “total bitch.” Prosser has told reporters that he “probably overreacted,” but also that it was “entirely warranted” against the behavior of the court’s more liberal members.

  5. Elaine M,

    Thanks for the latest post. I’m kinda shocked Kloppenburg and Prosser are in the running neck and neck.

    Considering what he said in the past about supporting Walker, his band of GOP thieves and their anti-worker, anti-middle class legislative agenda, and with Walker’s approval rating down the sewer, how anyone in their right mind could vote for Prosser?

  6. TPMDC
    Report: Wis. Supreme Court Race Running Close In Internal Polls
    Eric Kleefeld | March 28, 2011

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court race on April 5, pitting incumbent Justice David Prosser against challenger Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, could be going down to the wire in a state that has become highly polarized due to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s new anti-public employee union law.

    In an overview of the race, Robert Costa at National Review reports:

    Two sources with knowledge of internal GOP polling tell us that Prosser and Kloppenburg are near even, a bad sign for the incumbent. “She has driven his negatives up,” one source says. “It will be hard to drive hers up. Her lack of judicial experience should hurt her, but it also makes her harder to pin down. The question now is: Does the Right have enough resources to counter the Greater Wisconsin Committee’s millions? And even if they do, is it too late? It is going to be touch-and-go for these last few days.”The Greater Wisconsin Committee is a liberal group that has run attack ads against Prosser, such as tying him to Walker, and attacking his handling of a Catholic Church sex abuse case in the late 1970s when he was a district attorney.

    As we’ve noted, a state Supreme Court election would not normally be major news. But in the wake of Walker’s legislation, and the political protests that gripped the state and attracted national attention, the court race has quickly turned into a proxy political battle. Conservatives are supporting Prosser, a former Republican state Assembly Speaker, and liberals backing Kloppenburg.

  7. The problem is that guys like this no longer are ashamed of their actions to do the bidding of the corporations, but seem proud that they are part of something that can only be seen as purchasing of the courts.

    It must take a lot of alcohol for this guy to sleep at night or even be social at the country club.

    I would rather see devoutly religious people on the bench who believe that God is going to destroy Japan for this sins that a guy that can be so outright unethical and not care.

  8. “Please, give today. Our business climate is at stake. Fuck democracy. If the pitchforks, er, plebes, ah, slaves, um, average citizen realized en masse what we were up to, they would rise up and kill us one-percent-ers in our luxury yachts, private planes and obscene kitchens. If we could find the kitchen. Har-de-har-har! Jeeves! Where is the kitchen in this house?”

    This edit brought to you by Citizens United.

    Citizens United! The key to making tomorrow’s Fascist States of America today! Remember . . . Citizens United, when money is more important than civil rights!

  9. Elaine,
    I saw that article and it turned my stomach. How can people fall for the crap these crooks are selling?

  10. Justice-For-Sale Lobbyists Raising ‘Unlimited and Undisclosed’ Donations To Buy Supreme Court Seat
    (Think Progress, 3/25/2011)

    Last year, Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and Gov. Scott Walker ally David Prosser cast the key vote in favor of a “justice-for-sale” ethics rule written by two corporate lobbying groups. Thanks to Justice Prosser, his colleagues are not required to recuse themselves from cases involving one of their major campaign donors. Now, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), one of the lobbying groups that wrote the rule Prosser made into law, is rewarding him by raising “unlimited and undisclosed” funds to keep Prosser on the state supreme court:

    Dear Wisconsin Business Leader,

    The government worker unions are openly attempting to overturn the November elections, buying an activist majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and grinding our democracy to a halt because Governor Scott Walker has refused to raise taxes to balance the budget. […]

    Click here to make a generous corporate contribution to counter their efforts. Donations are unlimited and undisclosed. […]

    WMC IMC will mount a statewide TV ad campaign to educate the public about Justice Prosser’s common sense approach. And, we will educate the public about Kloppenburg’s radical agenda, and how the union bosses want her to stand in the way of reform.

    Please, give today. Our business climate is at stake.

    WMC, whose board of directors includes a high ranking executive with a Koch Industries company, has a record of spending exorbitant sums of money to ensure that the state supreme court is friendly to powerful corporate interest groups. In 2008, WMC spent $1.2 million to replace former Justice Louis Butler with an obscure conservative judge after Butler sided against wealthy interest groups in three court decisions. Butler is now an Obama nominee for a federal trial judgeship.

    Moreover, WMC’s efforts to buy up seat after seat on the state supreme court would have been illegal just a few years ago. Wisconsin banned corporations from buying state elections in 1905, but that law effectively ceased to exist when the Supreme Court opened the floodgates of corporate campaign funds in its infamous Citizens United decision.

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