Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

That is some pretty unbelievable behavior.

NathanialG wrote:

That is some pretty unbelievable behavior.

I agree. Prosser denies it, of course - in his version, Justice Bradley charges him with her fists raised, and he made incidental contact with her throat in the course of stopping her attack.

We don't yet know which account is correct, but Prosser has demonstrated an exceptionally poor temper towards his colleagues in the past, calling Chief Justice Abrahamson a bitch and vowing to destroy her.

I think that, at the very least, it's clear that Justice Prosser has a temperament especially ill-suited to the levelheaded, nonpartisan consideration of cases upon their merits. At this point I don't even care that Scott Walker would get to appoint his replacement. Prosser should be resign, or be removed from office under charges of misconduct.

I'm still for due process here. First things first, investigation and charges or censure or whatever punishment is brought. After that he should resign. Unless he wants to first. You know, for the good of the court/office/state.

I haven't seen Bradley ask for a resignation so far either.

If I've given the impression I don't value due process, I have communicated poorly. The fact that Prosser is hot-headed enough to have sworn to destroy the Chief Justice (which he admits, with the caveat that she had it coming) makes me think there is no small chance the allegations have some basis in fact - that doesn't mean due process should be set aside, though.

Of course there should be an investigation.

Of course there should be appropriate charges, based on the result of that investigation.

If the allegations that he put another Justice in a choke hold are true, Prosser has no business being on our state's Supreme Court. The Judicial Branch is supposed to be the calm, sober branch of government and a guard against the populist fevers that intermittently afflict the Executive or Legislative branches - not a black-robed version of Thunderdome.

TWO JUSTICES ENTER. ONE JUSTICE LEAVES.

[size=8](sorry, just had to say it.)[/size]

Hypatian wrote:

TWO JUSTICES ENTER. ONE JUSTICE LEAVES.

[size=8](sorry, just had to say it.)[/size]

Who run Justicetown?

Didn't say you were against it, Dimmer. And I see that you did have other reasons for calling for him to resign. Honestly, this is getting so far into farce territory I'm not sure what to think anymore.

Jolly Bill wrote:

Didn't say you were against it, Dimmer. And I see that you did have other reasons for calling for him to resign. Honestly, this is getting so far into farce territory I'm not sure what to think anymore.

It's only because you're new to the region. Soon enough you'll learn to laugh at Wisconsin, like the rest of us.

Forward!

Due process continues apace.

Dane County Sheriff's Office[/url]]Today, at the request of the Wisconsin Capital Police Department, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into the June 13th incident involving an alleged altercation at the offices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office recognizes the significance and sensitive nature of this investigation. Beginning today, detectives will work diligently to conduct a thorough and timely investigation. Because this case is in the very early stages, no further information is available at this time.

wordsmythe wrote:
Jolly Bill wrote:

Didn't say you were against it, Dimmer. And I see that you did have other reasons for calling for him to resign. Honestly, this is getting so far into farce territory I'm not sure what to think anymore.

It's only because you're new to the region. Soon enough you'll learn to laugh at Wisconsin, like the rest of us.

Forward!

Maybe it's because I'm not a native and don't feel like I have a stake in that cross-border tension, but every time I see someone from Illinois badmouth Wisconsin it just seems like they're the ones who look bad.

I have a feeling the Illinois/Wisconsin relationship is a lot like the Michigan/Indiana or Michigan/Ohio relationship. We'll talk a nonstop stream of trash until some asshat that isn't from the midwest jumps in, and then suddenly it's solidarity.

Damn Californians/Texans/Floridians.

Seth wrote:

I have a feeling the Illinois/Wisconsin relationship is a lot like the Michigan/Indiana or Michigan/Ohio relationship. We'll talk a nonstop stream of trash until some asshat that isn't from the midwest jumps in, and then suddenly it's solidarity.

Damn Californians/Texans/Floridians.

Coasters are for holding your beer.

You make it, they'll hold it. Well, briefly, anyway.

DA Ismael Ozanne will refer the assault case to a Special Prosecutor, not because he feels his office would be unfair, but to avoid any perception of bias.

District Attorny Ozanne wrote:

Process matters. How we do our jobs is just as important as what we do in our jobs. The people of this state deserve to feel confident in the rule of law and the exercise of discretion by their constitutional officers.

Well said, and kudos to Mr. Ozanne for side-stepping any allegations of bias. (It was while arguing the merits of a case DA Ozanne had filed that the alleged assault took place).

Conversely, Justice Prosser does not plan to recuse himself from a first-amendment case being argued by Jim Troupis. Mr. Troupis is the lead attorney at one of the firms who handled Prosser's recount efforts, and was directly involved in the recount work himself.

This bears repeating:

District Attorny Ozanne wrote:

Process matters. How we do our jobs is just as important as what we do in our jobs. The people of this state deserve to feel confident in the rule of law and the exercise of discretion by their constitutional officers.

Failing to recuse yourself from a case argued by your own lawyer is absolutely corrupt.

Malor wrote:

Failing to recuse yourself from a case argued by your own lawyer is absolutely corrupt.

Good thing he's not his lawyer:

The money that went to Troupis' office was for expenses and work done by other attorneys. Troupis did not bill for his own time working on the recount, according to Nemoir.

Either way I think it would be wise for him to step away from this case. I'll hold off on calling him corrupt unless there's some actual evidence of it.

MattDaddy wrote:
Malor wrote:

Failing to recuse yourself from a case argued by your own lawyer is absolutely corrupt.

Good thing he's not his lawyer:

The money that went to Troupis' office was for expenses and work done by other attorneys. Troupis did not bill for his own time working on the recount, according to Nemoir.

Either way I think it would be wise for him to step away from this case. I'll hold off on calling him corrupt unless there's some actual evidence of it.

Troupis did work as a lawyer for Prosser, he just didn't bill him for it.

Troupis did not bill for his own time working on the recount, according to Nemoir.

I wouldn't call it corrupt without more evidence as well, but just the appearance of impropriety is enough to warrant him recusing himself.

MattDaddy wrote:
Malor wrote:

Failing to recuse yourself from a case argued by your own lawyer is absolutely corrupt.

Good thing he's not his lawyer:

The money that went to Troupis' office was for expenses and work done by other attorneys. Troupis did not bill for his own time working on the recount, according to Nemoir.

Either way I think it would be wise for him to step away from this case. I'll hold off on calling him corrupt unless there's some actual evidence of it.

Donating your legal talent to a political campaign should be declared as an in-kind contribution, no?

Dimmerswitch wrote:
MattDaddy wrote:
Malor wrote:

Failing to recuse yourself from a case argued by your own lawyer is absolutely corrupt.

Good thing he's not his lawyer:

The money that went to Troupis' office was for expenses and work done by other attorneys. Troupis did not bill for his own time working on the recount, according to Nemoir.

Either way I think it would be wise for him to step away from this case. I'll hold off on calling him corrupt unless there's some actual evidence of it.

Donating your legal talent to a political campaign should be declared as an in-kind contribution, no?

Actually it'd be Free Speech now, wouldn't it?

GioClark wrote:
Dimmerswitch wrote:
MattDaddy wrote:
Malor wrote:

Failing to recuse yourself from a case argued by your own lawyer is absolutely corrupt.

Good thing he's not his lawyer:

The money that went to Troupis' office was for expenses and work done by other attorneys. Troupis did not bill for his own time working on the recount, according to Nemoir.

Either way I think it would be wise for him to step away from this case. I'll hold off on calling him corrupt unless there's some actual evidence of it.

Donating your legal talent to a political campaign should be declared as an in-kind contribution, no?

Actually it'd be Free Speech now, wouldn't it? ;)

C'mon guys, we're talking about a recount here. It's not like they were out stumping for the guy. I agree with MattDaddy and Stengah, Prosser should probably recuse himself just because of the appearance of impropriety, but there's a big difference between pre-election aid and post-election recount work they were hired to do.

Posting from a phone makes me less verbose than I should be. The bolded portion of my post was intended to highlight the relevant portion MattDaddy had skimmed past (namely, that Troupis was in fact Prosser's attorney).

The article makes it clear that the recount phase was subject to different rules than the campaign proper (both Prosser and Kloppenburg accepted public financing of their campaigns, in exchange for a pledge to forgo private fundraising - once the recount was ordered, that restriction was removed).

I'm not claiming that Troupis did anything improper by donating his legal talent. I don't know enough about the laws governing our state court's elections (and how they might be different during the recount phase), but that does seem like the type of thing which would normally be considered an in-kind contribution. Since Troupis is a lawyer, I expect he knows the law and would not be in violation. For all I know, it may be classified as an in-kind contribution and Troupis has already properly declared it. The article isn't clear on that point, and I'm not finding anything more definitive at the moment.

I do agree that Prosser should recuse himself.

Troupis did work as a lawyer for Prosser, he just didn't bill him for it.

I'd say that's even WORSE -- not only was he Prosser's attorney, he volunteered. He worked for free.

Boy, if you wanted an example of just how ethically bankrupt the conservative government in Wisconsin is, there you go. Not the volunteering part, the failure to recuse.

Damn him for volunteering! He's a lawyer for pete's sake. He's going to give lawyers a bad name by working for free.

I actually don't think there is a problem with not recusing yourself in either situation. People being involved in cases where there is bias is a huge problem. A perception of bias is also an issue, as it can degrade public confidence in government.

However going to far is a danger as well. You have to have some form of trust in your government officials, and going too far in trying to eradicate bias is really just an issue of overlaying your own bias on to the issue, you only think that people that share your bias are truly unbiased (sort of like FOX News fair 'and balanced').

A recent example would be Judge Walker, a homosexual who did not recuse himself from judging on Proposition 8.

A relevant passage:

Walker's "sexual orientation was not a basis for his needing to recuse himself any more than a woman judge of reproductive age is disqualified from hearing a challenge to an abortion law or an African-American judge is disqualified from hearing a race discrimination case," says constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Irvine Law School, in an e-mail.
Yonder wrote:

I actually don't think there is a problem with not recusing yourself in either situation. People being involved in cases where there is bias is a huge problem. A perception of bias is also an issue, as it can degrade public confidence in government.

However going to far is a danger as well. You have to have some form of trust in your government officials, and going too far in trying to eradicate bias is really just an issue of overlaying your own bias on to the issue, you only think that people that share your bias are truly unbiased (sort of like FOX News fair 'and balanced').

A recent example would be Judge Walker, a homosexual who did not recuse himself from judging on Proposition 8.

A relevant passage:

Walker's "sexual orientation was not a basis for his needing to recuse himself any more than a woman judge of reproductive age is disqualified from hearing a challenge to an abortion law or an African-American judge is disqualified from hearing a race discrimination case," says constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Irvine Law School, in an e-mail.

It's a bit different. In this case, one of the attorneys has had a very recent professional relationship with the judge, which resulted in a very favorable outcome for the judge. Troupis and his firm merely oversaw the recounts, so it's not like Troupis was essential to getting Prousser re-elected or did anything major, but the fact that he did so for free, while the rest of his firm charged, suggests they might have a personal relationship as well, or at least could be involved in an exchange of favors. That's just wild speculation, but the main reason judges are supposed to recuse themselves is to make any such speculation irrelevant. Neither side of the Prop 8 trial has any kind of a relationship with Judge Walker outside the courts to my knowledge, but if they did, I think he would need to recuse himself.

Edit - If someone were making the argument that Prosser should recuse himself because he's a member of the tea party (the group Troupis is representing in the upcoming case) then the Prop 8 comparison would be more valid.

Yonder wrote:

I actually don't think there is a problem with not recusing yourself in either situation. People being involved in cases where there is bias is a huge problem. A perception of bias is also an issue, as it can degrade public confidence in government.

The comparison to the Prop 8 case is off-base, though. This isn't a matter of someone possibly having pre-existing sympathies which could potentially be seen as relevant. A lawyer who worked for Justice Prosser's campaign, and felt strongly enough about his candidacy that he volunteered his time, is arguing a case before the Supreme Court.

The consensus among the legal scholars interviewed for that article (including Stephen Gillers, whose specialty is legal ethics) was that recusal would be appropriate.

I'm not arguing that Justice Prosser couldn't possibly be fair in the case Mr. Troupis is arguing before the court, merely that when there's the potential for a conflict of interest, the standard response is recusal. If Prosser wants to remain on the bench for this suit, I think he needs to make a better case than it sounds like he has so far.

[Edit: Tannhauser'ed by Stengah. I agree with his Tea Party comparison.]

Does anyone know exactly what role Troupis played during the recount? I think you're jumping to conclusions by assuming he didn't charge because he felt strongly about Prosser's candidacy. Maybe he didn't charge because he really did do anything to warrant charging for his services. I don't recall seeing anything that explained why he didn't charge for his services.

This really isn't much different from Sumi staying on the union case even though her son had strong ties to them. I know some will say it's not the same, but I think they are similar enough to warrant mentioning it.

It would have been comparable if her son had been working for either of the litigants (the Dane County DA or the state Attorney General's office).

That's not what happened though. As with the Prop 8 example, it's apples and orangutans.

So, what, exactly does Prosser have to lose by recusing himself from a case that people are arguing he should? At best, in this course of action, he _looks_ like an ass. Wouldn't it be better to sit this one out and not have the appearance of impropriety?

(Since tone is hard, I'm not really trying to be snarky, I am legitimately asking.)

Non snarky reply - my guess is that he's invested in his image of himself; recusing would be a sign of weakness.