September 15, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court justices vote 6-1 against opening up their conferences to the public.

The vote is not surprising, of course. What was surprising was that it was proposed. It was presented by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, and Abrahamson was the only Justice who voted for it. Even Justice Ann Walsh Bradley — who last spring accused fellow Justice David Prosser of putting her in a "choke hold" — voted against it.
[The Chief Justice] and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley were the only two who voted in favor of opening to the public discussions about which cases the court would accept. And the same two justices were the lone voters in favor of releasing recordings or transcripts of opinion conferences at least one year following the release of opinions....

But other justices expressed discomfort with Abrahamson's idea, saying open conferences could chill discussions among the justices. Justice Patrick Crooks, often an ally of Abrahamson in court decisions, called the proposal "a big mistake."

"It's a little bit like the old saw about making sausage," Crooks said. "I don't think you want to see that in the Supreme Court."

The court tabled a decision on another of Abrahamson's proposals, to bring in an expert to on work dynamics to work with the justices on collegiality....
More here:
At one point Ziegler asked Abrahamson how much more time she wanted to spend on her transparency proposals, saying: "When are we going to get back to work?"

Abrahamson rebuked Ziegler for insinuating she was wasting time, calling discussion of court functions as important as drafting decisions. Ziegler quickly backtracked, saying she only wanted to know when she could go to the bathroom....

25 comments:

Triangle Man said...

Can you imagine how many more potty break transcripts we would have had available to us had it passed?

edutcher said...

You mean we don't get to see the cage match?

Fred4Pres said...

They could have run these on C-Span (late night of course to the protect the children), entitled, Wisconsin's Supreme Court After Dark!

MikeR said...

People's Court

lemondog said...

Any smackdowns?

S said...

I'm not sure the sausage analogy quite works, because the only problem with watching sausage made is that it's unpleasant. I don't think the sausage makers would change their procedures for the worse if the process were televised. Making it even harder than it already is for a justice to throw out a not-fully-considered thought and retract it after a brief discussion strikes me as a really bad idea.

SunnyJ said...

"even justice Ann Walsh Bradly..."

What do you mean "even"? If there was absolutely one person that wouldn't want deliberations open, it would be the one that charged another justice, got his face, shook her fist, slapped another one in the back of the head and according to police reports that were posted on this web page, was so hysterical she had to leave work and cried so often during the interviews they had to be stopped mulitple times.

"even...Bradley"...might have more accurate to have said:

"and especially justice AWB voted no...."

Emil Blatz said...

I guess they ran it up the flagpole and (effectively) nobody saluted. Maybe Shirley should call it a career.

BJK said...

Maybe it's just me, but I think the first thing a consultant would tell them about building collegiality would be to stop proposing rule changes that even your allies on the Court don't support.

garage mahal said...

If there was absolutely one person that wouldn't want deliberations open, it would be the one that charged another justice, got his face, shook her fist, slapped another one in the back of the head and according to police reports that were posted on this web page, was so hysterical she had to leave work and cried so often during the interviews they had to be stopped mulitple times.

Time for another blogger commenter ethics panel.

Carol_Herman said...

Well, it looks like grandma's ass got kicked hard. And, Ann Walsh Bradley did not jump in and defend her. If anything, it looks like "warm neck" Ann ... also voted against Abrahamson's "time delays."

So they want to get back to work, huh?

It ain't the "sausage," crooks. For that you have to unzip your pants, and search inside.

And, I guess "Miss Congeniality" got tabled, too. Did they have to knock her unconscious, first?

traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...

Vote, vote, vote. Doesn't anyone tyrannize anymore?

Original Mike said...

6-1. Wouldn't a leader step down after that kind of vote of no confidence?

dbp said...

What Mike said, this was a vote of no confidence. Which is a bit odd in one respect; Bradley attacked Prosser when he indicated that they were loosing confidence in Abrahamson's leadership.

pogo101 said...

Garage Mahal had no comment, other than a content-free comment obliquely referring to how Bradley was made to look like the fool that she is.

Garage loves company?

Joe Schmoe said...

Reading about CJ Abrahamson makes me think of a character from one of the Harry Potter movies, Delores Umbridge. If my memory serves (and it frequently double-faults, to my chagrin), she outwardly tried to appear very cheery and collected, but her collegial veneer was easily cracked. She was basically a turbo-beeyotch.

Beldar said...

I cannot think of any proposal more calculated to further politicize an appellate court.

Oh, wait. Yeah, I guess we could re-write the Wisconsin constitution to beef up that recall procedure. Make it real-time, so that during the televised conferences, if any 5000 viewers send in a certain text-message, there's an immediate statewide election, also held by text-messaging, to see which judge gets kicked off the island.

Yeah, that'll help too.

David said...

I think it's great that the Chief Justice was able to bring a solid majority of the court together on a controversial issue.

Glen Wishard said...

I have three proposals to resolve WI SC disputes and to make them more open to the public: Blindfolds, Bowie Knives, and Pay-per-View.

Carol_Herman said...

A 7-0 vote would have been funnier.

And, Ziegler's comments that she was waiting for a break "to return to work" ... so she could go pee ... One of those rhetorical twists you couldn't write into a novel. Because it wouldn't be accepted as fiction.

For entertainment value ... "grandma" delivers.

What's she like behind the scenes?

ndspinelli said...

Shirley just isn't attuned to bathroom breaks since she wears Depends, just like Carol "Ditzy" Herman.

vet66 said...

Shirley has had one too many hits off the liberal bong. She views her position on the court as a bully pulpit and a means to an end. She suffers from a blind pathology that needs an intervention after removal from the court.

Who are the people who vote these freaks into positions of power? She is beyond whatever shelf life she ever had.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...

Sounds like Abrhamson and Bradly are toxic personalities.

I still get a lebian vibe from the two of them. Not that there is anything wrong with lesbians....just with toxic lesbians.

Even Justice Ann Walsh Bradley — who last spring accused fellow Justice David Prosser of putting her in a "choke hold" — voted against it.

Sure. How can you make shit up if you have your conferences open to the public.