Bradley-Prosser confrontation gets even sillier
posted at 1:25 pm on June 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
Christian Schneider brings us the latest news from the scuffle between Wisconsin state Supreme Court justices David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley, which has taken on more of the characteristics of a Jerry Springer episode than a First Monday in October vibe. According to more sources, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson involved law enforcement, which got uninvolved as soon as possible in the claims and counterclaims, a path open to them since Bradley didn’t choose to file charges. Instead, Schneider reports that sources believe Bradley and Abrahamson chose to leak the story to a left-wing website in order to embarrass Prosser in retaliation:
On Monday night, Bradley called Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs to talk to him about the incident. On the morning of Wednesday, June 15, Tubbs joined the justices in a closed-door meeting, where he discussed “issues relating to workplace violence.”
During the meeting, Chief Justice Abrahamson actually reenacted the incident on Chief Tubbs — no doubt an amusing sight, as the diminutive Abrahamson mimicked choking the tall, portly police chief. During her demonstration, Abrahamson emphasized that Prosser had exerted “pressure” on Bradley’s throat.
“There was no pressure,” interrupted the justice who had initially broken up the incident between Bradley and Prosser. “That’s only because you broke us apart,” shot back Bradley. This exchange led several meeting attendees to believe Bradley was making up the charge, as they took her rejoinder as an admission that there was no pressure applied to her neck.
Bradley and Abrahamson wanted to force Prosser into taking anger-management training. However, they failed to convince their fellow jurists, who wondered how they would go about forcing any colleague to attend any kind of remedial counseling, regardless of the circumstances. Some considered it a “demeaning” demand, considering that Prosser didn’t do anything wrong in the first place.
Bradley could have filed a criminal complaint. To date, she has not chosen to do so, but that may be because a criminal complaint could open up a bigger can of worms. Prosser would have his due-process rights, including taking depositions, evidentiary hearings, and the like. That might get rather strange, since those activities would have to take place in the same Wisconsin courts that these justices oversee. Who gets to determine whether the court handles the case properly?
This is what happens … When Justices Go Wild! It’s a great idea for a new reality show, don’t you think?
Schneider posits that Bradley and Abrahamson didn’t think they could win in a criminal complaint or a demand for a restraining order (which would make Supreme Court sessions rather difficult), and so chose to leak the story to political allies in order to pay back Prosser:
Instead, the story was leaked to the George Soros–funded Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, who used three anonymous sources to back up Bradley’s story. There were six justices present at the time of the incident, four of whom would be more likely to back Prosser’s version of the story. That leaves Abrahamson and Bradley as the only two remaining justices present. One source present speculated the third source may have been Bradley’s law clerk, who likely didn’t actually see the confrontation but may have head Bradley shout “I was choked.” …
Furthermore, sources unanimously believed that it was Shirley Abrahamson who has been the impetus behind the story, managing the press operation from behind the scenes. Justices had been working together regularly since the incident without any signs of rancor until Abrahamson decided to make this an issue, sources believe.
Sounds like Wisconsin needs to clean house in its Supreme Court. Rather than have the courts get involved, the state legislature should start probing this case to determine exactly what happened, and whether the Chief Justice has conducted a leak campaign against Prosser as payback. I’d say at least one resignation is due in this case — and maybe a few of them, whatever happened. It’s doubtful that Wisconsin’s citizens can put much confidence in a court that can’t behave itself in a mature and professional manner, and especially one where such poisonous partisan and personal politics are in play.
Otherwise, we can look forward to even more updates from the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where in place of decisions and precedents, we can find out who won’t stop looking at whom, the compliance status of Exies-No-Erasies, and who ate the last Ding Dong in the cupboard.