Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cover up in the Wisc. Supreme Court?

In between the fog of all the budget talk, our screwed-up and corrupted Supreme Court also was in the headlines this week. First was the release from Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley recusing herself from a potential discipline hearing against the "man" accused of choking her, fellow Justice David Prosser. Bradley said that when Prosser attacked her
what happened in my office on June 13, 2011 was not an isolated event. Rather, it is one event in a history of abusive behavior in our workplace that has escalated from tantrums and rages, to threats, and now to phyiscal contact.
Bradley went on to say that she and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson have taken to locking themselves in their offices out of fear of their safety, as they find Prosser unstable.

The Walker Administration tried to run interference and claim that they couldn't find a record of such a request, no doubt to try to feed the Charles Sykeses and Mark Bellings a meme that Bradley was lying. But former Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs backed up Bradley's account Friday afternoon, saying that Capitol Police were indeed contacted by a "Supreme Court official," and put in a security plan soon thereafter.

But hey, maybe Bradley was overreacting. I mean, look at the grace in which Prosser handled being interviewed on the incident.

That doesn't look like an unstable maniac, does it?

What kept Prosser from facing criminal charges for the incident was the fact that the other 3 right-wing members of the Court - Michael Gableman, Annette Ziegler and Pat Roggensack - claimed the incident did not happen or that Prosser was somehow provoked and threatened by Bradley (who is significantly shorter and smaller than Prosser), so there wasn't enough unquestioned evidence against prosser to charge him.

Roggensack was also called out by Bradley in her complaint, as Bradley said Roggensack deceived investigators about what happened that June day, and was lying when Roggensack claimed earlier this month that things really aren't that bad between the justices. Given that a key attack against Roggensack in the upcoming Supreme Court election will be that she is part of the problem with the Court's embarrassing dysfunction (along with her partisan, conservative record), you can see why she might want to say something like that.

But an ethics case remains from the incident, with Franklyn Gimbel as the head prosecutor for the state's Judicial Commission. That was also in the news this week because the Journal-Sentinel had a story where Gimbel said he had been told not to add any new evidence or scopes to the Prosser investigation by the state's Judicial Commission.

This is where things get interesting, and the cover-up angle becomes more obvious. As Patrick Marley writes in the Journal-Sentinel,
Since Gimbel began work on the case, the makeup of the commission has changed so that it is now controlled by Walker appointees. Among the commissioners are people recommended by John Gard, a lobbyist, former Republican Assembly speaker and former aide to Prosser when he was in the Legislature. In recommending the appointees, Gard told an aide to the GOP governor they were "fiercely conservative" and would "never wimp out."

Gimbel would not disclose what other options he provided to the commission to consider for continuing the case. Some legal observers have said the effort should be directed at [Judge Richard] Brown, the chief of the appeals court, because state law says the appeals court chief "shall select the judges" on the judicial panel and does not specify a role for the Supreme Court in establishing the panel.
One of those that has called for Brown to take case on his own is Tom Foley at the Illusory Tenant blog, and his breakdown of this ongoing saga is worth the read from an "inside the legal profession" standpoint.

But in addition to "fiercely conservative" judges, know what else John Gard lobbies for? The school voucher movement, which has already thrown over $20,000 toward Justice Roggensack's re-election campaign, a contribtuion Roggensack didn't report until One Wisconsin Now tracked and exposed the contribution themselves. Roggensack is often the swing vote that favors Gov. Walker and the Wisconsin GOP, like she was in the Act 10 decision in 2011 (which lifted off the whole "Prosser choking Bradley" incident). The right-wingers in Wisconsin know they might need Patty's vote for issues such as voter ID, domestic partnerships and marriage equality, and worker rights.

When you put this together with the Walker Administration "not having a record" of Bradley's complaint against Prosser, you can see where there might be more than a little coordination between the Governor's Office, the Judicial Commission, and the Roggensack campaign in making sure nothing else happens. Because these guys don't want people to be reminded of how this Court has fallen apart under right-wing rule, and how it has been a willing partner in the breakdown of Wisconsin's former reputation of clean government, as they might become very willing to kick out one of the people who has allowed the corruption and unchecked power to go on- Pat Roggensack.

The fact that the Wisconsin righties are going to such lengths to lie and protect Prosser and Roggensack is all the more reason you should throw her out, and pull the lever for Ed Fallone this Tuesday, and on April 2. I know I will.


  1. Two points which you missed, both related to Gimbel:

    A) Walker and WISGOP were giving boatloads of money to Gimbel for defending Kelly Rindfleisch.

    B) Gimbel wants Walker and WISGOP to pass a special sales tax to support the Milwaukee entertainment district, of which Gimbel is Chairman.

  2. That Rindfleisch connection slipped my mind. Thanks for that, Capper. It makes me wonder if Fimbel is in on the cover- up, or if he's trying to send the message that there is one, based on what he knows from the inside

  3. Illy-T seems to think the cover-up is more because of the Judicial Commission instead of Gimbel, for what it's worth. He indicates Gimbel is more of a hired gun who took the Rindfleisch case cause it was a high-profile paycheck, without much quid pro quo with the Walker folks.

    Which points things back toward Walker and Voycher Lobbyist John Gard appointing righties to the Judicial Commission