Ethics Dunces: The Wisconsin Supreme Court—Choker, Chokee, Everyone

When a judge acts like this, there's a problem with the court.

In the story linked here, you can read about the controversy between a liberal, female justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court who says that a conservative, male justice attempted to choke her, and the male justice, who claims she attacked him. There is more outrageous behavior described as well, including threats, and epithets like “bitch” being used.

I don’t care who did what, or what the facts are.

The conduct of the whole Wisconsin Supreme Court is a disgrace. There could not be effective leadership or proper professional standards on the court if this sort of uncivil, unprofessional, unethical nonsense could occur, even once, and even if it only involved two judges directly. All the justices are at fault. The Chief Justice, Shirley Abrahamson, obviously has not done her job, for it is her job to keep her court functional, ethical and professional.. Since she has not, the other justices were obligated to address the kind of poisonous, uncivil, disrespectful environment that could spark a physical confrontation. They failed their duties as well.

For the state’s highest court to behave in such a juvenile, disgraceful fashion—whatever happened, and whoever was at fault—embarrasses Wisconsin, the legal system, the judicial profession, and the nation. Every single justice on the court failed his or her ethical duty, because with competent, diligent, serious attention to the professional duties of the judiciary, justices do not start attacking each other. This cannot and must not be tolerated, or treated as a mere dispute between individuals.

It won’t happen, of course, but if addressing the matter were left to me, all the justices would be asked to resign, and a new group elected, perhaps with the added requirement of a pledge to treat the legal system with respect by treating each other with respect….and insisting that their colleagues do so as well.

13 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: The Wisconsin Supreme Court—Choker, Chokee, Everyone

  1. Reports indicate that Prosser was attacked by the chokee.

    A while ago, Dennis Prager postulated that we are in a nonviolent civil war.

    It wasn’t the first time he laid out that theory:

    I hope Prager is wrong, but the facts seem to support his contention. If that is the case, and it is a non-violent civil war – could that explain the perceived decline in ethics, which may instead just be two sides waging a civil war by other means?

      • The thing is – why the wait to go to the authorities if he DID try to choke her? Aggravated assault is a pretty serious felony. If it really went the way she said it did, she should have nothing to fear by filing for a restraining order OR making a police report.

        Yet, none of that has occurred. Instead, they went to a newspaper to make the report.

        If anything, these additional details seem to support Prosser’s side of the story, not Bradley’s. Something smells here.

        • Something does smell, but what, I’m not sure. Going to the papers simply proves that the dispute is political. I would think a judge actually making a criminal complaint against another judge would be a last resort….ditto a restraining order.

  2. Oh please. Is the judiciary a civilized entity or not? I have always been against elected judges and DAs, for the obvious reasons. But fistfights?????

    I think they should both be brought up on charges: which other judge then would have to recuse him/herself from hearing the case?

    Hilarious! It could be in court for decades…anyone remember Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House?” We’ve got it coming….

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