December 3, 2011

What has happened to Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser?

He's taking a month off "to recover from a serious [but not life-threatening] health issue," we're told.
That will leave six justices to hear several cases, raising the possibility of 3-3 splits on the deeply divided court....

Prosser did not participate in orders this week in a fast-moving, politically charged case over recall elections...
Prosser is the conservative justice who was involved in that bizarre "chokehold" incident. (There was no actual chokehold, apparently.) He won a hotly contested campaign for reelection this summer after the Wisconsin protesters focused their energy on defeating him. At present the protest effort is aimed at various recall elections, and there is a current controversy before the court about whether the next round of recall elections against legislators will use the newly drawn legislative districts (which favor Republicans) or the old districts that were drawn back in 2002, when Democrats controlled the process.

I wonder what is wrong with Justice Prosser. Based on what I've read about the "chokehold" incident, I imagine an intense degree of interpersonal conflict and stress inside the court. One could speculate about the kind of health problems such a workplace environment might cause or exacerbate. Is this month off a prelude to resignation? If he were to resign, the Governor — the Democrats' nemesis Scott Walker — would have the power to appoint the person who will replace him, but that person will need to stand for reelection next year. [NOTE: Text edited for accuracy.]

Walker, of course, is facing a petition drive to force him into a recall election some time next year. Under the circumstances, it would be interesting to see what kind of justice he would pick to replace Prosser. Prosser is the 4th vote in the conservative group that determines the outcome in all of the ideologically split 4-3 cases. Obviously, Walker would want a reliable conservative. But beyond that, he should want to burnish his own reputation by picking someone with impressive legal credentials. And considering the situation inside the court, he should want someone with strong leadership skills and a great capacity to operate in a psychologically stressful work environment.

ADDED: Maybe something else happened, something like the "chokehold" incident, and he's been pressured to get that "anger management" treatment he was previously told to get.  There could have been an ultimatum: Get that treatment now, or we'll go public.

50 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

and fairly young...

ndspinelli said...

I wonder if Prosser has Amy Winehouses Rehab on his itunes?

AJ Lynch said...

Sounds like you are throwing your at in the ring?

ndspinelli said...

AJ Lynch, Our professor doesn't have the requisite judicial temperment. Wait...that's a qualification, not a disqualifier.

Ann Althouse said...

"Sounds like you are throwing your [h]at in the ring?"

If you think my qualities match up with what I said Scott Walker should pick... you don't know me very well.

Back in the 1980s, Judge Alex Kozinski — in a one-to-one conversation — told me what to do to become a federal judge. I laughed, because I knew, back then as now, it's better to be a law professor.

KenK said...

"Impressive legal credentials"? Which among that lot currently on the bench have them? "Impressive" to who? ABA ratings? Special interest group preferences? The courts are made up of partisan hacks just like the executive branch and the legislature but lawyers will never admit that.

Ann Althouse said...

nd is right. And I've said it on this blog every time the question has come up: I don't have judicial temperament.

I'm also not a reliable conservative. I'm not even a conservative on most of the issues you think of with respect to judges.

I shun leadership. I don't want to lead or be led.

And I don't take to a stressful work environment. I like running my own show. I hate group projects. The Supreme Court is a group project. Ugh!

Ann Althouse said...

""Impressive legal credentials"? Which among that lot currently on the bench have them? "Impressive" to who? ABA ratings? Special interest group preferences? The courts are made up of partisan hacks just like the executive branch and the legislature but lawyers will never admit that."

That's not the point. Walker should boost his own reputation by choosing someone who will make him look good. So pick someone who isn't a political hack, but who will be on your side ideologically nevertheless.

Look at the last 7 appointments made to the U.S. Supreme Court. There is a way to get it right.

edutcher said...

Any kind of intense and prolonged stress will have medical implications.

The Blonde can give you chapter and verse on how that works.

traditionalguy said...

I hope he feels better. We need his mind and integrity.

He may be reacting to his anger towards the Chief Justice's cabal.

MadTownGuy said...

Chuck Norris. He don't need no stinkin' legal credentials.

Allie said...

Hmmm, wonder if he has sleep apnea, choking himself in his dreams?

edutcher said...

The single-celled intelligence thinks she's being funny, but apnea's no joke.

People literally stop breathing in their sleep.

Allie said...

No kidding Eddy. Are you worried I have special powers and will cause him to have sleep apnea because I typed those magical words here?

Don't choke me Eddy, it was a joke.I can't help it if you are a sad sack.

Allie said...

Spinelli said;
I wonder if Prosser has Amy Winehouses Rehab on his itunes?

12/3/11 9:45 AM
Hey Mr. Ed, you're not going to scold Spinelli too?

edutcher said...

Oy!

Delusions of adequacy aside, if the single-celled intelligence is any indication, she just gave the best reason to oppose ZeroCare - the Lefties apparently think quality of medical care should be based on the patient's political positions.

Some nurse.

Wonder where she got her training - Auschwitz or Dachau?

garage mahal said...

or the old districts that were drawn back in 2002, when Democrats controlled the process.

I don't think this is right. The courts settled the last redistricting lines.

Yesterday Republicans withdrew their suit, [suing themselves], surely because of the absence of Prosser.

Harsh Pencil said...

Ann wrote

"Look at the last 7 appointments made to the U.S. Supreme Court. There is a way to get it right."

Yes, and that ain't it. Every single justice is now from Harvard or Yale law school. I don't want to be ruled by a self-perputating elite that believes it has the God-given right to determine which issues are not to be democratically decided, even those clearly not addressed by the Constitution.

Constitutional Law isn't rocket science. This fiction that you need to be brilliant to read the damn document and decide how it applies has not served us well.

Allie said...

Yeah Mr.Ed, I have some "special" treatments for you, it will cure you of your lack of a funny bone. Even cures horse's asses, such as yourself.

Ann Althouse said...

"Constitutional Law isn't rocket science. This fiction that you need to be brilliant to read the damn document and decide how it applies has not served us well."

The assumption that all courts do is constitutional law is your first mistake.

Tim said...

I imagine he's just sick, and speculation as to cause or even replacement! (can't someone be ill without engaging in gossipy parlor games of "who will replace him?") seems unwarranted.

Pity this much thought did not go into the vote for Obama...

victoria said...

You now what I say, "Buck up, little buckaroo."
Grow a pair, Prosser

Vicki from Pasadena

J said...
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J said...

judicial psychosis, more than likely. Symptoms--many years wearing a black robe, waving hands at issues one doesn't understand, babbling incoherently, baring teeth at lady judges, --it's time for the muzzle and thorazine for dindin.

J said...

Look at the last 7 appointments made to the U.S. Supreme Court. There is a way to get it right

Wrong, you mean. You're not a conservative, but just idolize them and follow orders from them? The current SC's Konservative with a capital K, A.

Sue D'Nhym said...

But beyond that, he should want to burnish his own reputation by picking someone with impressive legal credentials.

You still haven't come to terms with the new normal regarding how courts are fully politicized, have you?

Ann Althouse said...

"Wrong, you mean."

I meant "right" in a somewhat sarcastic way. If you want to do X, here's how to do it right. The question whether doing X is the right thing to do is a separate matter.

I'm assuming Walker would want to do X.

It's not actually my preference for what judges should be.

somefeller said...

Maybe he just hurt his hands somehow.

garage mahal said...

This case seems to me just bizarre.

Some of the same Michael Best attorneys are now representing the Republican group that has sued. They argue state election officials should have determined that, despite the language in the law, the new maps were to go into effect right away for recall elections.

WTF? The GAB should have not followed the law Republicans wrote and passed? They sued the GAB over their own law, and have now withdrawn it because Prosser is sick.

frank said...

The A-V ratings are in. Vicki, eminently qualified, I'd trust her judgment anytime. Allie, single celled intelligence indeed, if one were inclined to be charitable. We know she's a psych nurse--the only question--what kind? Definitely not the 'nice' type, she's Nurse Crachit incarnate. Collected the taxpayer's money and spent her time [30 years in a locked ward, mind you]solely concerned with counting bowel movements [only Titus could love her]. Then comes WRS--what to do when your only function in life has been the counting and quantifying the quality, color, amount and consistency of 'bowel' movements? She's a 'movement' expert. Aha!! Surely the people of WI and AA need her skills with 'movements'. So 'packs' up her shit and peddles her 'movements' all over Wisconsin. Our green thumbs love her, every comment contains a certified bag of Milorginite--watch your garden grow!!!

J said...

Ah like ...in "the ends justifies the means" sort of way--ie, Reaganites who thought "it would be in our best interests to put Scalia/Rehnquist on the SC". The essence of conservative thinking . That said, Scalia was unanimously approved.

J said...
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sorepaw said...
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frank said...
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frank said...
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J said...
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Bender said...

Any kind of intense and prolonged stress will have medical implications.
____________________

Another reason why Pete Rose is rightly banned in perpetiuty from baseball and the Hall of Fame.

It was the stress from his case that killed Bart Giamatti.

Writ Small said...

Prosser hasn't demonstrated much of a judicial temperment himself.

If Walker can find someone who can calmly get under Bradley's and Abrahamson's skin, then a pre-recall, health-related retirement is just what the doctor ordered.

J said...

Maybe something else happened, something like the "chokehold" incident, and he's been pressured to get that "anger management" treatment he was previously told to get.

Ya think? In other words, given Prosser the Enforcer's standing (and juice with DAs, cops etc) they won't prosecute him for assaulting Miss Bradley (a petite mom) but they will make him get psych. care, hushhush-like

Ann Althouse said...

"Ya think? In other words, given Prosser the Enforcer's standing (and juice with DAs, cops etc) they won't prosecute him for assaulting Miss Bradley (a petite mom) but they will make him get psych. care, hushhush-like."

I was thinking of the dynamic within the court about something as-yet unreported.

As to the "chokehold" incident and things not reported, remember that it is also true that Bradley was not prosecuted for assaulting Prosser.

Pogo said...

I understand he choked on some old turkey neck at Thanksgiving.

J said...

Recall the tale of the tape Miss A: Bradley's 5-3, about 130lbs, a mother. Prosser, 5-10 or so, at least 170 lbs. Was in sports in his younger days, right. No excuses, even for his alleged "self defense".

Ann Althouse said...

"Recall the tale of the tape Miss A: Bradley's 5-3, about 130lbs, a mother. Prosser, 5-10 or so, at least 170 lbs. Was in sports in his younger days, right. No excuses, even for his alleged "self defense"."

Where's the report from the Wisconsin Judicial Commission? What's taking so long? Are they waiting until we forget about it? I haven't! If the answer's so obvious, why haven't they given it?

Ann Althouse said...

A mother?

What the hell is the significance of that?

frank said...

Simple AA, to understand "J" you need to know his mother. That's the significance.

Alex said...

So the Althouse comment section has devolved between the battling sockpuppets of J/Allie/garage and Althouse chiming in now and then. Sorry but I'm done with this shit.

Michael said...

I believe putting the choke hold on women causes prostate cancer. Prosser has had prostate treatment and will be back soon, fit as a fiddle.

Ralph L said...

A mother?

What the hell is the significance of that?

The uterus becomes magical.
Things emanate from it.

Petunia said...

I could be wrong, and I'm too lazy to look it up right now, but I believe that if a Wisconsin SC justice retires, and the governor appoints another one, that justice does NOT complete the original justice's term, but rather is up for election in the spring of the first year when no OTHER SC justice is up for re-election.

I believe that is 2012 and then 2014.

Ann Althouse said...

@Petunia You're right. Text corrected.