The presumption should be that all conferences are open.As I said when we discussed this earlier, I don't see how this could be fair to the parties or how it is consistent with the idea deciding cases according to the legal texts and precedents (rather than policy preferences and political orientation). You'd have judges looking more like legislators, which is exactly what they shouldn't do if they want to look judicial.
a. The open conference could be held in the hearing room.
b. The open conference could be held in the closed conference room and streamed to the public.
The Chief Justice also proposes:
An expert on small group dynamics could be retained at no expense to the taxpayers to work with each Justice for ways in which the Justice can work in a more constructive manner....Who would choose this expert? Would this be a variation on the demand — made by Justice Bradley after the "chokehold" incident — that Justice Prosser submit to "anger management" therapy? Yes, now all the Justices would submit, but submit to whom? What biases and preferences would this outsider bring to the project? (Sorry, I just can't picture anybody being neutrally professional anymore.)
Another proposal of the Chief's:
An internal operating procedure or rule could be adopted that 4 Justices not be considered a quorum or a binding majority that can direct action by the Chief Justice or Court staff unless all Justices have been advised of the "meeting/conference" and all Justices have had the ability to participate in the "meeting/conference" and in the decision making.That would empower the 3-justice minority to control the 4-justice majority. It's hard to picture this court in this state having that kind of trust. (I'm thinking of how hard it was for the 4 conservative justices to find and interact with the 3 liberal justices on the day of the "chokehold" incident and also the way the Democratic minority thwarted the operation of the state senate last winter by hiding out in Illinois. The "fleebagger" strategy was only feasible because of a supermajority quorum rule.)
The Chief Justice would also like a separate "tribunal (not composed of Justices)" to make the final call on whether a Justice should recuse himself in a case and a process of replacing recused Justices with "a judge be selected at random." Obviously, you can see the potential for wresting the majority out of the hands of the 4 conservatives the people of Wisconsin have elected to the court. Imagine the endless strategic fighting over recusals!
Sorry to be so cynical. I can't help it, and I don't have a better solution to restoring the prestige of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
IN THE COMMENTS: bagoh20 said:
All they can do to make it better is shut up and get to work, but there is huge toolbox of things they can do to make it worse....
Althouse, isn't your philosophy that just doing nothing is often the best course? I happen to agree, and it's part of my business philosophy too.Yes! Nothing! I recommend nothing. Think about "better than nothing" as being, in reality, a high standard.