“Are any of the newspaper asking for them to step down? People have very serious disputes and their whole lives depend on decisions on the Supreme Court, and this isn’t fair to the people. Are newspaper editors saying they got to go?”
—-Fox News Host Greta Van Susteren, asking Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel reporter Jason Stein why the Wisconsin news media has not demanded the removal of Justice David Prosser and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley or both, since by all accounts they turned ideological differences into a physical altercation in chambers. The reporter ducked the question, and blamed it all on Gov. Scott Walker, thus taking “missing the entire point” to art form status.
Van Susteren is not only right, but obviously right.
Why are these two disgraces for judges still on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and more particularly, why hasn’t the Wisconsin media been doing its job by explaining that this conduct, however it came about and whomever was the instigator (there will be no criminal charges, but a judicial panel is investigating into the incident), should not and must not be tolerated by the public?
I would go one step further, and insist that Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson also step down, for allowing such a poisonous environment to flourish, and perhaps clean out the entire court. As I first wrote on this topic back in June:
“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.”
Van Susteren’s solution is less Draconian and more politically feasible than mine, so I will yield to her. The way to bring civility, professionalism and competence to our political and judicial systems is to refuse to tolerate anything less.