WI State Supreme Ct Chief Justice Prosser… Did He Assail Justice Ann Walsh Bradley?

CORRECTION: Prosser is apparently not Chief Justice. I did see it in print in one of the sources, but the error is mine.

You may remember Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice David Prosser’s recent squeaker of a victory over his Democratic opponent JoAnne Kloppenburg (7,000 votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast). As of today, Prosser is alleged by “three knowledgeable sources” to have grabbed another Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, Ann Walsh Bradley, with both hands around her neck in her chambers, as part of an argument over the verdict regarding the recent legislation essentially denying public employees the right to unionize. The Justices themselves are declining all comment, which may mean that legal action has been initiated. The best source I’ve found so far is this article from the Wisconsin State Journal. (I have much more to post on the subject, but I want to be certain this goes out before midnight. I avoided the verb “assault” in the post subject because as far as I know, at this point, no charges have been filed, of assault or anything else.)

UPDATE: other sources…

David Dayen of FDL does some basic reporting on the alleged incident and its possible meanings,

Phoenix Woman, on her personal blog at the FDL site, adds details and offers opinions,

ThinkProgress enumerates four ways Prosser can be removed from office if the allegation proves true.

I’ll add to this post if new info surfaces.

UPDATE: Ms. Justice Bradley now accuses Mr. Justice Prosser. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal Online:

Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley late Saturday accused fellow Justice David Prosser of putting her in a chokehold during a dispute in her office earlier this month.

“The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold,” Bradley told the Journal Sentinel.

Sources told the Journal Sentinel two very different stories Saturday about what occurred. Some confirmed Bradley’s version. According to others, Bradley charged Prosser, who raised his hands to defend himself and made contact with her neck.

Prosser denies the allegation, saying Bradley charged him and he raised his hands to defend himself, inadvertently brushing… her neck? Really? In deciding whom to believe, please note that Justice Prosser has a history of at least verbally defaming other women justices:

Prosser acknowledged in March that he called [Chief Justice] 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.”

And there were allegations of voting irregularities and conflicts over the vote count in Prosser’s re-election… i.e., in classic Republican fashion, he probably stole a close election. Wisconsinites deserve to be rid of him.

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  • Bryan  On Sunday June 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Depending on the state, what he did constitutes battery or assault. Physical contact is called Assault in New York, but Battery in Florida. Verbal abuse is called Harassment in New York, but Assault in Florida.

    In the law it is important that this took place in Justice Bradley’s office. You have a defense if you are on your “home ground” that does not exist if you are in someone else’s area. To wit [I don’t know why we say it, but cops and lawyers always do] if Justice Bradley had slammed Justice Prosser up side his head with a book, she could claim self-defense. That is not a defense open to him. He should have retreated, and not stood his ground.

    Further, if she told him to leave and he didn’t, he could be charged with trespass, and she is allowed to “defend her home”.

    Maybe Prosser can find someone familiar with the law to explain it to him.

  • MandT  On Sunday June 26, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Prosser perfectly embodies at the State level the institutionalized misogyny of right wing jurisprudence, which recently was made manifest in the Supreme Court i Wal*Mart decision.

    • Steve  On Sunday June 26, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      Gentlemen, both of you are as usual right on point. And I cannot imagine that the phrase “judicial temperament” has ever been extended to encompass chokeholds during debate.

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