March 11, 2011

The Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg takes the nonpartisan election in a strongly partisan direction.

At a forum at the Waukesha County Courthouse last night:
“Justice Prosser has sent a clear message that he will favor the agenda of Gov. (Scott) Walker and the Republican Legislature,” Kloppenburg said. “I will apply the law to the facts of the cases before me and decide them without prejudice.”
What is her basis for attributing a "clear message" like that to Prosser? If she doesn't have a solid basis for that statement — and I can't see what it is — how is that supposed to jibe with her self-image as a dutiful applicant of law to fact?

ADDED: The Isthmus columnist Bill Lueders, who is quite openly liberal, can't see fit to disrespect the venerable Prosser:
David Prosser tells a story of how he intervened to protect the state Capitol's custodial staff. It happened during the week of Feb. 20, when the building was packed with people protesting Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union agenda....

"I think you need earplugs... I went down to the police and said, 'You have got to give custodians at least the opportunity to wear earplugs.' It was done within the hour."

... [That] was one of the only times in a 90-minute interview... that Prosser was willing to stake out a position — it's too loud — on issues almost everyone else is taking sides on...

"Two weeks ago, Prosser looked like he had a commanding lead," reflects Mike McCabe of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. "Now this race has been made into a referendum on Scott Walker."
Well, it's not a referendum on Scott Walker, and anyone who says it is either wants to confuse people or to undermine the role of the judiciary in a democracy.
"I'm running to restore people's confidence," [says Kloppenburg.] "I will preserve the role of the court as a coequal and independent branch of government that serves as a check and balance on overreaching by the executive and legislative branches." She adds, "What's happened in the last three weeks has brought that home."

Does that mean Kloppenburg thinks there has been overreaching by the governor and Legislature? Here she hits the brakes.

"I think, ah...." Ten-second pause. "That can't be determined yet. We don't know if there's overreaching until you have a law, and there has been no law."
Ten-second pause. Thanks to Lueders for revealing that.

96 comments:

Kirby Olson said...

This seems like a natural development, unfortunately. Whoever gets in immediately appoints judges that are one way or the other. So to begin to lobby on a political basis is a natural outcome. At least it's honest. "I will do what my party tells me to do," might as well be the new oath.

Quayle said...

She doesn't give a crap how it fits with anything.

These are righteous warriors, and torpedoes be damned, full speed ahead.

Mogget said...

Shocker, as Instapundit would say.

BJM said...

Still crazy after all these years...the left will never forget being out-judgeshopped in 2000.

Ann Althouse said...

@Kirby There's no appointing going on here. It's an incumbent being challenged in an election for a 10-year term.

James said...

She can't help herself she IS liberal. This is all part of the civil war raging within the Wisconsin Supreme Court since Michael Gableman was elected.

LawGirl said...

This statement is transparently partisan on her part. While giving lip service to neutrality, the first part of the sentence demonstrates who she is trying to set herself up AGAINST.

Only the densest voters among us will not see it for what it is. Not that it matters. IOKIYAD.

Maguro said...

There is often a 4-3 split on the high court, widely viewed as a conservative-liberal division. Prosser proudly touts his conservative credentials.

Interesting. Can we assume that if Kloppenburg replaces Prosser, Walker's budget bill will probably be struck down for one reason or another?

Lem said...

Dint Walker just get elected?

What "agenda" before the courts could candidate JoAnne possibly be talking about?

Unless she believes that the Walker "agenda" will end up in court.. which assumes that its needs a court remedy.. which means candidate JoAnne is a partisan.

cubanbob said...

Maguro said...
There is often a 4-3 split on the high court, widely viewed as a conservative-liberal division. Prosser proudly touts his conservative credentials.

Interesting. Can we assume that if Kloppenburg replaces Prosser, Walker's budget bill will probably be struck down for one reason or another?

3/11/11 3:35 PM

If she were to be that blatant would that put her in the position to be impeached and removed from office?

James said...

Since last November's elections, the liberals have embarked on a cynical strategy to "take" the Supreme Court. In the primaries last month they put up 4 candidates hoping that Prosser wouldn't get enough votes to advance to the election.

Oglebay said...

Maybe she was referring to his campaign manager's statement regarding “protecting the conservative judicial majority and acting as a common sense complement to both the new (Walker) administration and (Republican-controlled) Legislature.”

doris said...

I think it's pretty far removed -- but the source (I believe) is a statement from Prosser's campaign manager. Apparently he said that his job as Prosser's campaign manager would "... include building an organization that will return Justice Prosser to the bench, protecting the conservative judicial majority and acting as a common sense complement to both the new administration and Legislature." Does this mean Prosser sees his role and the work of the Supreme Court as a "complement" to the political and policy agenda of Walker?

LawGirl said...

Can we assume that if Kloppenburg replaces Prosser, Walker's budget bill will probably be struck down for one reason or another?


That would be the final straw in unraveling our state's claims to follow the rule of law and separation of powers.

Lessee . . . so far, we have . . .

1) Legislators fleeing the state to avoid a quorum.

2) Legislators filing lawsuits with frivolous "open meetings" claims, despite clear authority permitting legislative bodies to act precisely as they did.

and, now, they hope to put in place a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice who will aid and abet them by . . .

3) Having the court act as philosopher kings, usurping the legislative role by siding with the donkey brains who committed 1 and 2.

Fabulous.

Carl said...

Prosser is notorious for ignoring the law and putting his extreme ideologies first. Walker aside, the guy is a conservative asshole with a reckless disregard for the law--his rulings have proven, time and time again, that he's willing to go to any extreme to put his viewpoints first.

James said...

You mean like the erstwhile Louis "Loophole Louis" Butler?

MadisonMan said...

Can we assume that if Kloppenburg replaces Prosser, Walker's budget bill will probably be struck down for one reason or another?

I doubt it.

Kloppenburg is a sort-of neighbor, and she is a very nice neighbor. Her husband's curb-side garden is aweswom.

MadisonMan said...

aweswom? Awesome mispell.

chickelit said...

Whoever used the word "agenda" first is to blame here. That's my judgement.

Almost Ali said...

Can we assume that if Kloppenburg replaces Prosser, Walker's budget bill will probably be struck down for one reason or another?

Not likely, unless the Wisconsin courts take on new, supreme powers - that is, set themselves up as above all other branches of [co-equal] government.

Although Kloppenburg possesses the [dis]abilities typical of government prosecutors - which too often result in wrongful convictions as matters of simple expediency.

Kim Grimmer said...

Professor ALthouse:

Prosser's campaign manager, Brian Nemoir, stated upon being introduced to the public back in December:

"Our campaign efforts will include building an organization that will return Justice Prosser to the bench, protecting the conservative judicial majority and acting as a common sense complement to both the new administration and Legislature."

Prosser staked out the conservative side of the race and now he gets to live with it.

LawGirl said...

There is a difference between being a judicial conservative (which they should all be, IMHO) and setting oneself up as against a duly-elected partisan official.

LawGirl said...

She claims to be a judicial conservative, too (i.e., “I will apply the law to the facts of the cases before me and decide them without prejudice.”) but defeats her own claim in the same sentence.

I'm a Shaaaaark said...

Speaking of the Fleebaggers - they are planning a "homecoming march" because they are "heroes" and stuff.

PatHMV said...

Don't you understand that a simple application of law to fact will ALWAYS result in a victory for the Democratic policy?

Trooper York said...

Why would anyone listen to what a lawyer has to say. They are paid to lie. That's their job. If they are defense shills they have to lie to get their guilty criminals clients off. If they are prosecuters they have to fudge the evidence to get a conviction because they can't introduce any doublt. So they lie.

Judges are just liars who got a promotion.

Trooper York said...

With the law you get what you pay for.

Donate to your local political machine (which ever one is dominant in your state). Then go to court before a judge of that party. You will do great. Just sayn'

garage mahal said...

Interesting. Can we assume that if Kloppenburg replaces Prosser, Walker's budget bill will probably be struck down for one reason or another?

That's the hope yes.

Original Mike said...

" If she doesn't have a solid basis for that statement — and I can't see what it is — how is that supposed jibe with her self-image as a dutiful applicant of law to fact?"

Some questions answer themselves.

Real American said...

sounds like she's already decided, which, of course, makes her unsuitable to be a judge.

chickelit said...

That's the hope yes

And Kos kids are also asking whether law can be undone by ballot initiative: link.

wv = repunfd

Steve Koch said...

I don't know how the Wisconsin constitution defines the powers of the judiciary but the USA constitution is very clear that the judiciary is not to do law making from the bench. Federalist Papers 78 and 79 provide splendid insight into how the judiciary is supposed to function. Judicial activism is a gross violation of the constitution.

We inherited this amazing intellectual and moral creation, the constitution. Obviously it is far beyond our current abilities to create such a sublime instrument of justice but we should at least be able to appreciate it and attempt to preserve it. People who are willing to violate the constitution for temporary political gain are contemptible. The Dems are relentlessly committed to an activist judiciary, which is a repeated assault on the constitution.

There exists an organization called the Federalist Society. "It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.".

An easy way to prevent picking an activist judge is to pick a judge who belongs to the Federalist Society.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

"Prosser puts it like this: 'It's imperative that the state get its fiscal house in order [and] send a message that this is a great place to do business. [And] it would seem to me that the governor makes his strongest case when he can show a linear relationship between the proposal he makes and our fiscal situation. To the extent he is unable to do that, he begins to lose public support.'"


Oops. So much for the linear case.

But I do read linear support for Gov. Walker in Justice Prosser's statement . . . even if the Justice doesn't necessarily agree with everything that the Governor is doing.

Am I reading too much into J. Prosser's statement?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Chris said...

Am I reading too much into J. Prosser's statement?

I would say that you were reading it correctly, if it had not included that last line. The last line take most of the air out of the support.

By the way, you are quoting someone quoting Prosser. Where are you quoting from? It would be helpful if you could list the source; even better if you could provide a link.

Jay said...

What is her basis for attributing a "clear message" like that to Prosser?

Because since GW's election, the liberal mask has come off.

She knows, as well as you do, that the "progressive" left has no interest in making legal judgments based on facts.

former law student said...

Well, it's not a referendum on Scott Walker, and anyone who says it is either wants to confuse people or to undermine the role of the judiciary in a democracy.

“The Soopreme Court follows the illiction returns,” -- Martin Dooley, keeper of a saloon on Archey Road.

Big Mike said...

When is the election? I imagine that it will serve as a bellwether -- if she loses then the leadership of the public unions and their enablers among the leadership of the Democratic party are going to look at each other and go "uh, oh."

Lance said...

I don't see the problem here. Of course Prosser's a Republican/conservative/whatever. This wasn't a secret prior to 2011. Kloppenburg is using his political affiliation against him, for her own (political!) purposes, while trying to pretend that she's above all that. It's a student-body election trick to try and convince people to vote for her and her politics.

MadisonMan said...

Why would anyone want to keep an incumbent in office? In ten years Prosser will be almost as old as Fred Risser is now!

Chase said...

It is now blatantly obvious that Wisconsin has survived solely because of the conservative majority on it's Supreme Court.

Stop. Think, really spend a full 60 seconds: THINK about the damage a liberal Supreme Court would have done in just the last 2 years alone in Wisconsin.

If you don't pee in your pants after thinking about it, have your head examined. You are completely out of touch with reality.

BJM said...

@Carl

his rulings have proven, time and time again, that he's willing to go to any extreme to put his viewpoints first.

That pretty much sums up the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals...oh and the asshole part too.

John Foust said...

Pausing to think before you speak is now a bad thing?

John said...

"Steve Koch said...
...
An easy way to prevent picking an activist judge is to pick a judge who belongs to the Federalist Society.
3/11/11 4:34 PM "

And the Libs will tell you that the Federalist Society is an Extremist Right Wing group ... because they don't want to let the Dems ignore the Constitution and govern by fiat.

mockmook said...

Carl said...

Prosser is notorious for ignoring the law and putting his extreme ideologies first. Walker aside, the guy is a conservative asshole with a reckless disregard for the law--his rulings have proven, time and time again, that he's willing to go to any extreme to put his viewpoints first.
3/11/11 3:44 PM


Any proof for your assertion?

rmblam said...

"Kloppenburg is a sort-of neighbor, and she is a very nice neighbor. Her husband's curb-side garden is aweswom."

Well, there you go. Curbside garden = unbiased qualified judge. I'm convinced.

"Why would anyone want to keep an incumbent in office? In ten years Prosser will be almost as old as Fred Risser is now!"

Who says ageism isn't the new bigotry?

Kirby Olson said...

I still don't understand the way that courts work in the country. It's almost ridiculous. There seem to be so many levels and layers, and methods of getting the job. Why is it so various? I didn't realize that some judges are elected, some appointed. I guess I actually knew this, but I rarely pay attention to judges. It's just that they're calling so much attention to themselves lately, I suppose we finally have to sit up and take notice of all their bizarre notions these days, and what they feel they can do to the country. At any rate, I hope this Kloppenburg is slapped down by the electorate for her brazen self-righteousness, among other things.

Davod said...

"I still don't understand the way that courts work in the country. It's almost ridiculous. There seem to be so many levels and layers, and methods of getting the job"

This might have something to do with each state being separate with its own laws, with the federal government as a separate entity.

beer2_go said...

Ann, Why did you assume Kloppenburg doesn't have a basis?

Don't you remember Kloppenburg's Dec 10, 2010 Press Release where she complained about Justice Prosser's Press Release?

12/8/2010: Justice Prosser Campaign promised that if re-elected he would "protect the conservative majority and would be able to act as a common sense to both the new administration and legislature"

I think that 12/2010 Press Release is the basis of her complaint in December and now.

Harris said...

I like the way that Althouse is never partisan.

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