A Wisconsin whodunnit


Two probes opened into Bradley claim

Two agencies are investigating a claim by Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley that Justice David Prosser put her in a chokehold earlier this month – an allegation Gov. Scott Walker on Monday called extremely serious.

Asked if the reports about Prosser’s behavior, if true, merited his resignation, Walker said: “I don’t even want to go down that path . . . other than to say that just based on the allegations that were made, I can’t overemphasize how serious I think the situation is there. Until we know what happened, I don’t think it’s best for anybody for me to comment on what the next step is.”

The separate probes are being run by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, which oversees the state’s judicial ethics code. The sheriff’s investigation was launched Monday; the commission’s was authorized Friday and publicly acknowledged Monday.

“After consulting with members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I have turned over the investigation into an alleged incident in the court’s offices on June 13, 2011, to Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney,” Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said in a statement.

The sheriff’s office in a statement acknowledged it was taking over the case, but declined further comment.

What we have here is a literal “he said – she said” situation. I don’t know what really happened. I wasn’t there and I don’t know any of the people involved. Supposedly there were witnesses to the event, but none of them has spoken publicly.

Frankly, I don’t really care. No one was injured. I don’t live in Wisconsin and I have plenty of other things much closer to home to worry about. But it’s clear this story has many people falling into tribal lines.

People on the left think Prosser is guilty, although they usually remember to throw the word “allegedly” in front of the accusation. People on the right are inclined to believe Prosser and blame Bradley.

Here’s the thing that makes this kerfluffle a big waste of progressive energy: if either or both justices are removed (or resign) over this incident then Governor Scott Walker will appoint their replacement(s.) Even worse, if only Bradley is found to be at fault then publicizing the case will have backfired.

One last thought – would everybody still react the same way if the incident involved Sarah Palin and Anthony Weiner?

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36 Responses to A Wisconsin whodunnit

  1. Anonymous says:

    One account I’ve read is that multiple justices were in that room and Bradley went toward her with her fists raised. Prosser may have made contact with her shoulders to keep her at arms length.

    No matter what happens, it looks like at least one or more judges can’t seem to handle a legal argument without violence.

  2. votermom says:

    Here’s the thing that makes this kerfluffle a big waste of progressive energy: if either or both justices are removed (or resign) over this incident then Governor Scott Walker will appoint their replacement(s.) Even worse, if only Bradley is found to be at fault then publicizing the case will have backfired.

    Typical progressive strategery.

  3. WMCB says:

    Meh. This whole kerfluffle stinks. I’m not sure we’ll ever know exactly what happened. I’m inclined to believe that they BOTH lost their shit and behaved badly.

    I’m also skeptical of this court, because the thing they were originally arguing over was the Chief Justice’s plan to deliberately hold onto an already written and settled decision, and not release it, solely for the purpose of giving the finger to Walker’s govt – who needed that decision on record in order to pass the budget. That’s petty and unbecoming, and the worst sort of playing politics with the court.

    I also agree with Althouse that the fact that Ms. Bradley waited ELEVEN DAYS to leak this to the press (conveniently on the day that the budget was passed) stinks to high heaven as well – an obvious effort to use this episode to discredit Walker and the state govt on their “big day”. If, as the papers have told us, there were 5 or 6 justices in that room, does anyone really believe that they all would have sat quietly on this for 11 days if it was a cut-and-dried matter of “Prosser wildly attacked and aggressively choked her for no reason”? Or that Bradley would not have been in front of the cameras within hours? Or that REAL cops would not have been called? Or that Bradley would not have pressed assault charges fast as you could blink, considering the multiple witnesses?

    Prosser may indeed have put his hands on her in some fashion. And she may indeed have assaulted him first. I doubt anyone was actually hurt, barroom brawl-style. Again, no one really knows except those who were there – and I’m inclined to think they both got heated and physically demonstrative to some degree, however briefly.

    One thing is pretty evident to me, though. It’s Bradley’s “side” in this that seems keen to play politics with the whole deal, and immediately jumped to use an embarrassing and murky incident as a political weapon. My opinion is that it’s going to backfire. No one is going to come out of this smelling like a rose, but unless it all went down EXACTLY as Bradley is portraying, then she is going to have the most egg on her face, comparatively. Which isn’t saying much.

  4. WMCB says:

    I found this amusing, since I often hear the left opining that those nasty evangelicals are waaaaay too bigoted to ever vote for a Mormon, thus Romney or Huntsman have no chance. Too bad they are in a party that is so bigoted and not in the pluralistic and tolerant Dem party.


    In a survey that cuts against the media stereotype, a new Gallup Poll has found that more Democrats than Republicans say they would not vote for a Mormon for president. Twenty-seven percent of Democrats say they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon, while 18 percent of Republicans say the same. For independents, the figure is 19 percent.

    LMAO! So, who are the religious bigots, hmmm?


    • jjmtacoma says:

      I think the problem has to do with “democratic voters” being terribly afraid of people who are invloved with organized religions that are known to have conservative views.

      I can think of more than a few active liberal blogger types who freak out over any religion, particularly Christian religions.

      • WMCB says:

        Yeah, I thought that as well. But it’s still a double standard. I can understand some libs having reservations about a Christian. I think many of those concerns about theocracy, etc are hysterically dramatized and overblown, but I don’t think they are entirely baseless and based only on bigotry. There are real, legitimate concerns.

        But those same people, if one were to answer in a poll that one would have reservations about, say, a Muslim candidate, would chalk it all up to ZOMG!! Neanderthal xenophonic racism and raging islamophobia!!! This despite the fact that there is more evidence in the modern age that a Muslim might be more inclined to be sympathetic to a semi-theocratic state than any modern-day Christian would. True theocracies of the Christian flavor don’t even exist in the modern world, but very oppressive Islamic states and strident calls for yet more Islamic States abound.

        I think the place of religion, and legitimate fears about too much religious influence vs the positive effects of religion on a society and culture (note I said culture, not the same thing as the State) , ought to be discussed rationally, whichever religion one is referring to. It peeves me that one is allowed to have that conversation when talking about Christians, but the subject is taboo (lest one be called a nasty phobic raycist) when talking about Islam.

        Y’all can flame me or react in horror if you like. I’ve never been one to avoid sensitive topics out of fear of being ostracized. 😀

        • jjmtacoma says:

          I think you have a point, I won’t argue.

          The Christian thing is funny. Some denominations don’t think Mormons are Christians and some don’t think Catholics are Christians… Then you have the ones who think women and GLBT are fine and can be ordained. Others won’t allow women (let alone openly gay/lesbian) to have even the most piddly of leadership positions, short of Sunday school for little kids.

          “Christians” aren’t dangerous, it is the really conservative denominations who want to legislate all of us into heaven by preventing our sins.

        • ralphb says:

          Absolutely! The left’s reaction to any criticism of Islam is absurd.

        • WMCB says:

          I agree. My point was that it is seen as socially acceptable to make general statements about “Christians”, with it understood that you are of course not referring to each and every last Christian – only the loony ones. The same rhetorical leeway is not afforded when discussing other religions and their influence.

        • jjmtacoma says:

          Legislating us to heaven is a problem and that is where the energy needs to be spent. This is the dangerous part because the conservative Christians know where they want to go so they can gain small wins step by step.

          Liberals on the other hand, are freaking polite about respecting religious views, except Christian. BUT, I don’t think they are committed to the autonomy of women so those little wins are allowed to happen because they are seen as individual little wins and they don’t care that much about the pattern.

        • Three Wickets says:

          Latest gallup says 84% of Americans self identify as being religious.

    • ralphb says:

      That dude was pathetic enough to be a leader of the Obama Corps.

      • WMCB says:

        Every time I see a story or anecdote about some insane, no basis in reality, “it’s because I’m black/you’re white” accusation, I have the same flashback.

        I get a mental image of a black comedian whose name I can’t remember, but who did a killer mockery of his radical-in-the-extreme father. The line I remember best was his dad viewing olives with suspicion, as proof of the white man’s sinister plot (paraphrase): “Ever ask yourself why green olives come in a jar, but black olives come in a can, son? WHY is that? Why are they afraid of those black olives? Why do they have to be locked up in a can?” (Son is sighing at his WTF!!!??? dad…)

        You’d have to have seen it, but the guy was freaking hilarious.

  5. DandyTiger says:

    The usual stupid tribal reactions. So predictable.

  6. yttik says:

    Prosser has a long history of losing his temper, especially with women. Considering his past of screaming, cursing, and callling women bitches, the odds of him attacking Bradley are pretty high. There’s a pattern here.

    Beyond that, these two are extremely irritating, LOL! I don’t like the way they’ve politicized this issue and practically celebrated their feelings of persecution.Talk about entitlement! I mean, geesh, the world has bigger problems to deal with. It kind of reminds me of this assault trial I had to sit through where a guy was accused of a “nasty assault” against a lawyer. Turns out he had ripped off his shirt and thrown it at the lawyer as a he walked away. Listening to this lawyer-victim whine about how much it hurt, how traumatised he was, was enough to make the jury want to hurt him themselves.

  7. WMCB says:

    Denninger is on fire today. He explains to dangers posed to us by the growing debt, and the FACT that “extend and pretend” cannot avoid the pain – only put it off til tomorrow, and make it worse when it finally hits.

    By the way, it’s not possible to pay more than 100% of GDP in debt service, since there is only 100% to pay with. Further, you can’t pay 100%, since there are other things you need to buy, like for instance food, fuel, housing, etc.

    If you don’t believe this is inevitable so long as deficits continue to be present in the economy, irrespective of the interest rate, go ahead and play with the spreadsheet. Set the interest rate to any positive number and choose a GDP growth rate of your choice. So long as the total systemic debt growth rate is larger than the GDP growth rate this outcome will always occur, with the only question being “how long before it does?”

    The same, incidentally, is true so long as the government’s debt growth rate exceeds that of GDP – any government that maintains such a policy will eventually blow up.

    This is the fundamental characteristic of exponents – any two compound (exponential) functions where one is larger than the other will always run away from one another. If one must service (at some percentage over zero) the larger function with the smaller bankruptcy is inevitable if you maintain the compounding of the debt (the larger.)

    Since nobody ever intentionally loans out capital at a loss debt will always grow faster than GDP in a free market economy during economic expansion. The practice of increasing government deficits to “mitigate” recession is simply an attempt to prevent the fundamental mathematics from asserting themselves and blowing up those who lent out too much money to people who can’t pay from going under. That process, called “creative destruction”, detonates both the imprudent borrowers and the lenders who lent them the money.

    That process is necessary in order to clear the economy of excessive debt and halt the compounding of economic damage!

    It is not mathematically possible to prevent the contraction that must come; one can only defer the damage, and that deferral must mathematically result in further compounding of the ultimate pain that must be accepted and worked through the economy!

    You cannot change fundamental mathematical FACTS.


    • Three Wickets says:

      Well, our debt service is in the 600b neighborhood if you including everything including interest on entitlements. That’s 4% of GDP. But he’s right of course that debt service is on course to blow out the federal budget. Bigger than defense spending soon.

  8. Mary says:

    From The Hill, in article titled “Bush rates are kept safe in debt-limit talks.” (the talks with Obama):

    “the WHITE HOUSE, seeking an agreement to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by Aug.2, on Monday said it would NOT insist that any deal include an end to former Pres. George Bush’s controversial tax rates on the wealthy.”

    Appears the choice has been made.

    • ralphb says:

      Duh. He can’t raise taxes on his real base this close to an election.

      • Mary says:


        Besides, he’s courting the big boys behind the scenes for the big bucks. Scratch mine, scratch yours.

        • Three Wickets says:

          Looks like they may raise some misc taxes on inventory accounting, hedge fund income, oil and gas subsidies, some caps on itemized deductions. Also some possible cuts in defense spending. All sounds short term though, and they’ll be back wrestling before next year’s election.

  9. ralphb says:

    Maybe this kind of goes along with the Denninger post. 😉

    Voters give Obama lowest rating yet on economy

    Overall, 45 percent said they approved of the job the president is doing, while 47 percent disapproved, a range that’s held relatively steady since late 2009. As a result, Miringoff said, “this is a very competitive election year.”

    The economic numbers tell why: Fifty-eight percent of voters disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, comprising 60 percent of independents, 31 percent of Democrats and 91 percent of Republicans.

    But voters don’t necessarily blame him for the economy. Sixty-one percent said he mostly inherited the economic conditions, including 30 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents. The recession began in December 2007, when George W. Bush was president.

    Nor do voters like how the president is dealing with the budget deficit. Sixty-one percent disapprove, and 31 percent approve.

    Yet personally, Obama still is viewed favorably by 50 percent of voters, a rating that’s stayed fairly consistent since late 2009.

    Personally I think his personal favorability ratings are somewhat driven by people who won’t tell the pollster they don’t like the first black president. But what do I know, I’ve been a racist since 2008. In any case, these are loser numbers.

    • Mary says:

      LOL, Ralph! We’ve all been raycists since 2008; yada yada yada.

      I think the personal numbers vs. the economic/policy numbers show exactly what we’ve been saying, even for the Tea Partiers: People can “like” Obama on a personal level, and still object to his policies and his cronyism.

      It really IS that simple, ya know?

  10. ralphb says:

    Welcome To The Recession: Manufacturing Surveys Imply US Economy Has Entered The Second Month Of A (Re)Recession


    Obama may have a recession to call his very own.

  11. djmm says:

    I will wait for the testimony, which should be interesting. But this is not just a matter of judicial ethics: it is potentially criminal. If he choked her, it is an assault (and possibly a battery) and frankly, I find it unseemly behavior in a judge.


    • WMCB says:

      I’ll wait as well. Of course, it she came at him with fists (as some witnesses say), it’s assault on her part.

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