April 15, 2015

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editors: "Wisconsin Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson should drop her lawsuit."

"However unfair it may seem to Abrahamson and her supporters, she lost this round. She should drop her lawsuit."
Abrahamson's lawsuit will only further divide an already fractious court that is more notable in recent years for its dysfunction more than for its jurisprudence. These justices are as polarized as the state's politicians, which is an embarrassment. Justices are supposed to rise above such pettiness.

We also find it hard to believe there are legitimate federal issues here. The federal court should let the state sort this out.

38 comments:

YoungHegelian said...

Justices are supposed to rise above such pettiness.

With all the 5-4 decisions coming out of the US Supreme Court nowadays, it looks like that "supposed" keeps on running smack- dab into a brick wall of "such pettiness".

Gahrie said...

It's time to picket the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for taking part in the War on Women.

Bay Area Guy said...

MJS: Surely, you must be joking, Chief.

SA: I'm dead serious and don't call me Shirley.

James Pawlak said...

That suit is but another attack on democracy by "Liberals".

Curious George said...

I think I just figured out what this is about...I haven't heard this or read it anywhere else. I just looked it up, and if she serves out her term being the chief too, she will be the longest sitting chief is Wisconsin history. Otherwise she's second.

That's all you need to know about Shirley.

Headless Blogger said...

South Park had an episode about being #2. Surely, she is.

Anonymous said...

All the left has left is the courts. They couldn't get rid of traditional marriage without the courts. They couldn't get legal killing of their children in the womb without the courts.

They learned a long time ago that they needed the courts to put through their agenda.

It's taken conservatives a long time to catch up. We've finally caught on and progressives aren't happy.

Bobber Fleck said...

Shirley Abrahamson: We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!

Ann Walsh Bradley: We're just the guys to do it.

Quayle said...

It was always all about the people.

Until the people turned on you.

Then we find out that it was really always all about you.

traditionalguy said...

Shirley is shrinking.

Zeb Quinn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
deepelemblues said...

With all the 5-4 decisions coming out of the US Supreme Court nowadays, it looks like that "supposed" keeps on running smack- dab into a brick wall of "such pettiness".

Two thirds of the cases decided in 2014 were unanimous rulings. The Roberts Court is right up near the top when it comes to the amount of 9-0, 8-1, 7-2, 6-3 rulings.

It's just that other than Obamacare liberals keep losing the 5-4 rulings so they're very butthurt about it.

glenn said...

What Quale said.

clint said...

Anyone want to give odds that she'll drop the suit?

Ann Althouse said...

I'd say there's zero chance she'll withdraw. I'm sure she thought of all these arguments in advance of filing and chose to file. Whatever her reasons are, they remain as strong as they ever were.

kcom said...

"Whatever her reasons are, they remain as strong as they ever were."

Yes, but public mockery only comes into play when you go public. Plenty of decisions are made before that dynamic comes along and changes them.

Chuck said...

I think I can rewrite that editorial more clearly.

"Abrahamson's lawsuit is typical of the numerous extrajudicial activities undertaken by her and by Justice Beadley that have caused the court to appear fractious and undisciplined."

Bay Area Guy said...

Surely, she must be rethinking her legal strategy...

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Yes, "let the state sort this out." Here's how that will work.

Shirley will decide as the sitting Chief that the first vote under the new amendment will not be scheduled until 4 years from now, after her current term is up. And she'll rule any attempt to schedule a vote before then out of order.

The Republicans, perhaps preemptively, will go off by themselves and elect a new Chief.

Then the Wisconsin Supreme Court will have two people claiming to be Chief. And, of course, this will all be happening while Scott Walker tries to run for President.

That will be fun to watch, from Massachusetts.

Sam L. said...

A line from a song comes to mind:
"a mean, spiteful woman".

Phil said...

Between Tom Barrett talking out of his ass about guns and this nonsense, I wouldn't be surprised if the Canadians closed the border.

Katrina said...

Phil, Wisconsin does not border Canada, unless you count Lake Superior as a border.

geokstr said...

Note the wording - "...she lost this round."

Like Russ Feingold said - it "...is not over until we win."

To the left this is a war, not just a political argument. This quote describes their ideology perfectly - "Listen, and understand. (It) is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead."

I'm not optimistic the American public will realize this before it's too late.

Drago said...

Left Bank of the Charles: "Then the Wisconsin Supreme Court will have two people claiming to be Chief. And, of course, this will all be happening while Scott Walker tries to run for President."

This is the same type of nonsense the dems pulled with Mary Frances Berry.

Moneyrunner said...

To paraphrase LBJ: If you've lost the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - and you're a lefty - you've lost your base.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Shirley Abrahamson is bitter, angry and senile.

Douglas said...

The federal court should dismiss her comlaint sua sponte and assess Rule 15 sanctions for filing a frivolous suit.

jr565 said...

Wow this thread quotes animal House AND the terminator!

Chuck said...

... And, the Federal Rules if Civil Procedure! (It's Rule 11, not 15, of the FRCP, btw.)

David said...

She should resign. She has shown terrible judgment and a willingness to bring ridicule on the court, all for her own selfish purpose. In short, she's not qualified to be a judge any more.

Scot1and said...

This will be interesting. Abrahamson has some decent arguments based on precedent,

For example in Schultz v. Milwaukee Cnty., 26 N.W.2d 260, 262 (Wis. 1947) in a corner was elected and at the time of election the salary was 5k. Milwaukee county then sought to appoint a medical examiner and reduce the salary of the corner to $50 per month. Wis. Supreme Court ruled that was illegal and the ordinance was void as they could not change the pay scale mid-term.

In my opinion, since Abarahamson was elected and received the additional 8k a year for being C.J. she had a reasonable expectation of receiving the compensation of a C.J. for her entire term. I think she'll win this one.

Joseph Blieu said...

She did not sue based on pay.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Scot1and said...

...For example in Schultz v. Milwaukee Cnty., 26 N.W.2d 260, 262 (Wis. 1947)...

I don't suppose you have a link for that opinion? I tried googling it, but no luck.

Without reading the actual opinion it is hard to say anything definitive, but it sounds like it has significant differences. First, Abrahamson was not elected to Chief Justice, only to be a justice. Second, even if you assume that the cut was to salary she deserved, the size of the cuts were significanly different. In the case cited, the salary was being cut 99%. Abrahamson's would only be cut ~5%.

But again, a link would be most helpful.

tim maguire said...

Scot1, I don't think that case is on point. The coroner was elected by the people and the municipality tried to change the terms of his office after his election.

Judge Abramhamson's elected position is not threatened. Further, she will continue to draw the Chief Judge salary for so long as she is Chief Judge. She will lose the salary only if she loses the position.

David Hampton said...

Judge Abrahamson reminds me of the kool-aid drinkers with Jim Jones and his cult. Forever with their faces to the wind doomed to eventually pass with the anger/fear forever on their riga mortis face. What a toxic way to live life.

Douglas said...

David, I only had two typos in that post, that's not bad...Once upon a time, Rule 11 was mandatory, but alas these days imposing sanctions is left to the discretion of the judge, and I don't suppose a federal judge will impose sanctions on another judge - professional courtesy, you know.

Chuck said...

So doe this shed new light on Abrahamson's public statement that she would not have run for re-election to the court, but for the fact that she knew she'd be automaticay qualified as Chief Justice? It was a weird and seemingly silly thing to say, on its face and standing alone.

But it makes more sense, as a self-serving assertion to buttress a legal claim of some sort of reliance, to help her lawsuit.

I think she is lying through her teeth. She had name recognition and was no more ready to quit than is Bradley this year. Abrahamson's fellow Democrats needed her to run when she did. Irrespective of any perq as Chief Justice.

Scot1and said...

@Joesph
"She did not sue based on pay" I think she did, check Paragraph 45 of her complaint:
"As Chief Justice, Plaintiff Abrahamson currently receives a salary of $155,403.
Other justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court receive a salary of $147,403, which is $8,000 less
than that of the Chief Justice"

@Ignorance in Bliss I pulled the decision on Westlaw. I don't have a google link.

That said, I don't think the amount of the Salary reduction makes the cases distinguishable.

The issue as I see it is whether an elected official who is given a title (And corresponding benefits and duties) by virtue of the election can have his or her duties and benefits altered after the fact.

The law would be clear, for example, if a Judge wins an election and then the term limits are changed after the judge is elected, the term limits are not retroactively applied.

To avoid this conclusion, the argument for Abrahamson's immediate removal necessarily is that Chief Justice is an honorary position, which Abrahamson was not elected.

I see that as an uphill battle as her election as Justice necessarily gave her that title (honorary or otherwise) by virtue of the Wisconsin State constitution existing at the time of her election.

I have not found a single case that supports the notion that an honorary title (assuming the Courts see it that way) may be separated from the initial elected term.

That's going to be a problem for the supporters of this law because there are a number of cases that say amendments must be construed in favor of retroactive enforcement unless the effect is made clear.