When did the Wisconsin Supreme Court become Fight Club?

Posted by: Phineas on June 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

This is one of the weirder stories I’ve seen in a while, and it’s illustrative of how heated Wisconsin politics have become in the wake to the government’s efforts to rein in public employee union privileges: either newly-reelected Justice David Prosser tried to strangle a colleague in her chambers in front of witnesses, or she attacked him and he was defending himself. Byron York has the story(ies):

Over the weekend, a Madison-based liberal journalism group reported that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser “allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck in an argument in her chambers last week.” Prosser, a conservative, was recently re-elected in a contested election in which he was the target of an intense union-funded effort to defeat him. The argument was said to be about the court’s 4-3 decision allowing the Walker budget law, with its restrictions on organized labor, to go into effect.

The report said details of the incident were “sketchy” and came from three sources who insisted on anonymity, “citing a need to preserve professional relationships.” Neither Prosser nor Bradley commented.

But wait, there’s another version:

As the activist press was running with the story, new evidence emerged in a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report to suggest the matter was more complicated than originally reported. Whatever happened, happened during a meeting of six of the court’s seven justices; in other words, there were several witnesses. One witness supported the original accusation. But another witness said that during a heated conversation, Bradley “charged [Prosser] with fists raised” and that Prosser had put out his own hands defensively. According to one of the paper’s sources, Bradley then accused Prosser of choking her, to which another justice reportedly replied, “You were not choked.”

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, first: whatever did happen up there, it’s evident one of the two justices physically attacked the other. This is unacceptable in any case, but particularly from people who are supposed to be sober interpreters of the law and upholders of the rule of law. Whoever is at fault should resign and allow Governor Walker to appoint a replacement. (1)

As much as it is about the conflicting stories of what happened, York’s article also shows how, for the Left and Big Labor, the Battle of Madison is not yet over. Leftist papers and web sites, while piously saying Prosser should not be judged before all the facts were out, were quick to paint him as the aggressor and to point out ways he can be removed from office. (You may recall Prosser’s vote was crucial to upholding the controversial collective bargaining law passed over union screeching a few months ago.) In other words, fearful that the reforms Wisconsin enacted will spread, as they already have in Ohio and Tennessee, the Left is taking any shot it has to overturn election results and quash democratically enacted laws. And when you look at the groups involved and who’s funding them (2), it’s likely there’s coordination at well-beyond the state level.

And we’re going to see many more efforts like this as other states try to right their finances, while public unions and their Democratic allies try to keep the money-train rolling.


(1) Which the Left should not want, since Walker would almost certainly appoint conservative justices. Be careful what you ask for, progressives…

(2) Both the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, which broke the original story rumor, and the Center for American Progress, parent of the web site Think Progress, which described ways to remove Prosser from office, receive money either from George Soros as an individual, or through his Open Society Institute. While not probative, it’s certainly suggestive.

UPDATE: Some good discussions at both Althouse and Legal Insurrection. At the latter, Professor Jacobson points out that only one justice is saying a crime was committed: Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, accusing Justice Prosser. She should either back up her charge with evidence, or retract it and apologize.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

RSS feed for comments on this post.

7 Responses to “When did the Wisconsin Supreme Court become Fight Club?”


  1. foxmuldar says:

    We all know how the libtards lie. Who do you believe threw the first punch? Think about it. Loberal equal Muslim, socialist, code pink, and all the whack jobs out there that destroy property when they don’t get their way. Remember it was the libtard unions that destroyed the capital building in Wisconsin.

  2. Prosser acknowledged in March that he called Abrahamson a “bitch” and threatened to “destroy” her during a closed-door meeting.

    At the time, Prosser told the Journal Sentinel that the outburst to Abrahamson came after the chief justice took steps to undermine him politically and to embarrass him and other court conservatives.

    “In the context of this, I said, ‘You are a total bitch,'” Prosser said. “I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted. They (Abrahamson and Bradley) are masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements. This is bullying and abuse of very, very long standing.”

    Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal with my emphasis

    When I read the above this morning, I was intrigued. I have had dealings with a few folks perversely skilled in emotional agitation. Once the other party loses self-control, the provacateur, previously wildly emotional, goes stone-cold, like they were always being cool: ‘See? It’s you who is losing it!’ (I have to say, all my experience with this has been with women, although I don’t suppose the behavior is exclusively female.) I’ve discovered, it’s not truly conscious behavior. That is, they’re not trying to be provocative and manipulative and duplicious. They really believe they’re right. I am not a pedigreed psychoanalyst or anything, just a guy trying to handle life, but it seems to me to be a form of self-justifying, self-deceiving, aberrant psychosis. I have had some success getting a couple of hysterics to do honest self-re-assessment, although it’s extremely difficult cognitive therapy, requiring some degree of sincere willingness to admit to error and to change.

    If you’re not aware of what’s going on (it took me a long time and much awful experience to figure out), it’s all too easy to become embroiled. So, with nothing more to go on than this, I could sympathize with Prosser’s being provoked. I can also understand, if Bradley suffers this kind of problem, she might really believe she was the one attacked, even after first lunging at Prosser.

    I read a few of the comments to the original J-S article (before the later revisions started emerging) and I was not surprised to see commenters deriding this as typical of Republican violence. Of course, we all know the other side would never threaten to strangle anyone. Well, maybe the Vice-President of the United States, last October but of course, “He quickly added: ‘To the press, that’s a figure of speech.'” Right, Joe, right.

  3. Carlos says:

    My wife used to work in a moonbat mediation office. Her boss was a master of manipulation, and if she at any time called her boss on anything her boss’ typical response was to tell her she had misunderstood.

    How can one misunderstand the sentence, “A paper clip lying on your desk is a critical mistake.”

    And, of course, admin would always take the boss’ side because they were afraid of her, too.

    Part of the definition of being a libtard is that it is always someone else’ fault.

  4. RonJon says:

    Be careful, this is the same mob that will kill, extort and many other unpunished crimes against the innocent to get their corrupt way…oh, thank God they didnt use the old pubic hair on the coke can routine, thats so old hat, hoping this will backfire and they will have another conservative judge appointed to the court when bradley resigns.

  5. TexasMom2012 says:

    Two points.
    The manipulative behavior described by Mindful Webworker is not a solely female skill. I am married to a guy who has the same ability.
    Point 2. Libs rarely, extemely rarely, ever resign so I truly doubt Bradley will ever resign. She would have to be forced out by a criminal investigation. Although, most libs will not even resign then… Take a look at Congress! She would have to be convicted of an offense severe enough to force her removal from office.

  6. Alternatively (to my verbose comment yesterday suggesting unintentional confusion of perception), it could just be simple psychopathy à la Ann Barnhardt’s post yesterday about Obama’s Medal of Honor flub. (Wish Barnhardt had article-specific links… and an archive!)

  7. captaingrumpy says:

    My wife is a perfect 10 when it comes to arguments. We have been married for 38 yrs.When we argue,I used to shout BUT I have learnt to not shout but just say”I don’t want to argue”. She goads me on and on all day until I shout at her,THEN she says”see,I knew I was right,you cannot discuss anything,you always argue”. I guess she wins.