"My initial reaction is ... 'Wow,'" retired appellate court judge Neal Nettesheim said of Abrahamson's plan. "That is truly revolutionary."Could have a chilling effect? Obviously, it would transform the conferences into some kind of public show and not conferences at all.
But Nettesheim and former state Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske said such a move — akin to allowing the public into the jury room — could have a chilling effect on deliberations by justices, who often change their minds before a decision is final.
How would it be fair to the parties for the justices to deliberate in public? How could it be consistent with deciding cases according to the legal texts and precedents to have these preliminary discussions go out to the public? The proposal seems inherently premised on the idea that judges are the equivalent of legislators, voting according to policy preferences and political orientation.
But since it's also obvious that a majority of justices won't go along with this, Abrahamson's proposal is more of an expression, a way of stating: If only the public could see this...