Wisconsin: Supreme Court Justice Ann Bradley confirms reports that David Prosser choked her in anger

Goal ThermometerWisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Bradley has issued a statement confirming reports that fellow Justice David Prosser (he of the “suddenly found” 7000 votes) did indeed choke her in anger in her office before witnesses.

Her press release states (via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):

“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,” she said. “Those are the facts and you can try to spin those facts and try to make it sound like I ran up to him and threw my neck into his hands, but that’s only spin.

“Matters of abusive behavior in the workplace aren’t resolved by competing press releases,” she said.

“I’m confident the appropriate authorities will conduct a thorough investigation of this incident involving abusive behavior in the workplace.”

I’m interested in who the “appropriate authorities” are above. If a civilian attacks a justice, that sounds like criminal assault. Does that rule apply to colleagues?

For background, look to two items. First, the source of the argument is the Court’s upholding of Gov. Scott (“Reporting for duty, Mr. Koch“) Walker’s union busting law:

Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, quoting anonymous sources, reported Saturday that the argument occurred before the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month upholding Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s bill eliminating most of public employees’ collective bargaining rights.

The argument allegedly took place in front of several members of the court. … A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision that included a blistering dissent, ruled that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi overstepped her authority when she declared the polarizing union law void.

The fight over passage of Walker’s collective bargaining bill came in the weeks leading up to a hotly contested state Supreme Court election, which conservative incumbent Prosser eventually won after challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg conceded defeat in late May. Supporters of Walker largely backed Prosser in hopes he would uphold the union rights bill in a legal challenge.

Prosser is a man on a mission. If the incident occurred in front of other justices, expect a party-line split in the he said–she said vote count. I don’t mean “he said–she said” in the dismissive sense; in this case, one side will actually be right, and the other side … lying through its teeth.

The second bit of context is David Prosser himself, his apparent anger at women, especially non-conservative ones, and his temper. This is the guy who yelled at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson earlier this year, “You’re a total bitch” and threatened “I will destroy you […] and it won’t be a ground war.”

If you click through, note that Justice Bradley is the person who called out Prosser for his temper and language. Choking is an eerily telling way to punish someone for speaking.

This will play out, and I’ll stay with it. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is 4-3, with Movement Conservatives in the majority and voting like a bloc. The names to keep in mind are David Prosser, Patience Roggensack, Annette Ziegler, Michael Gableman. The “total bitch” incident occurred while the Court was discussing ethic issues involving Gableman. As I wrote at the time:

Prosser, Roggensack and Ziegler all believe that justices don’t have to recuse themselves in cases involving their campaign contributors. Ziegler has additional ethics issues, having previously presided over “cases involving a bank where her husband served on the board of directors.” Ziegler is also a Club for Growth and Wisc. Manufacturers & Commerce darling — and big-money recipient.

And make no mistake, Money has staked its claim on the Wisconsin Court, and seems to be getting its money’s worth — so far at least.

(I still think criminal investigation is where we should be operating in dealing with guys like Prosser and Clarence Thomas. Alleged assault is still assault, and given all that Thomas has been forced to reveal, imagine what he hasn’t.)

Our “give to the Wisconsin Recall” link is above. Please help; as always, thanks.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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