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The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial

MJS, Court

We back Prosser

 

David Prosser is a hard-working, experienced justice. He is not the primary cause of the Supreme Court's squabbling.

 

 

Feb. 11, 2011 |

 

 

David Prosser recently compared the Wisconsin Supreme Court, of which he is a member, to a family. Families have their squabbles, he noted in an interview with WisconsinEye.

 

True enough, but this "family" does more than squabble. It's close to dysfunctional.

 

The state Supreme Court is riven with personal dislikes, petty jealousies and wide ideological divides. The court is split 4-3, with self-described judicial conservatives, including Prosser, most often in the majority.

 

Though Prosser, 68, shares responsibility for the court's divisiveness, we don't believe he is the problem. Prosser has been a capable justice who has shown the ability to work with his ideological opposites when the situation demands. He is a good writer, has an even temperament and is a hard worker. We disagree with him on disciplining of lawyers - he doesn't see major problems with the lax system the state now employs; we do. But this is not enough to disqualify him.

 

We recommend Prosser in the Feb. 15 primary.

 

Essentially, the challengers seem to be running against the rest of the court more than Prosser - they save their harshest criticism for Justice Michael Gableman. JoAnne Kloppenburg, an assistant attorney general; Marla Stephens, director of appeals for the state public defenders office; and Joel Winnig, a Madison attorney, are highly critical - legitimately so - of the court's failure to discipline Gableman after an egregious ad during his campaign to unseat Justice Louis Butler. But Prosser is the election opponent - not Gableman. The challengers have not made a strong case for sacking Prosser.

 

Prosser, for his part, seems to be running as much against Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson as against his opponents. In an interview with the Editorial Board this week, he was surprisingly blunt in his criticisms of the chief, blaming primarily her for the backbiting and divisiveness on the court.

 

All the justices share responsibility for decorum, but Prosser is right: The chief does have a special role to play. It's worth noting that fissures on Abrahamson's court are nothing new. Shortly after Prosser joined the court in 1998, a cabal of justices sought to depose Abrahamson, backing her opponent in her re-election race. Prosser supported her and says that over the years he has had a good relationship with her.

 

We encourage Prosser - and his fellow justices, especially Abrahamson - to repair their differences and focus on interpreting the state constitution fairly and modestly. Leave the sniping for the lunch room.

 

Kloppenburg, 57, is a strong candidate. She has degrees from Yale and Princeton and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin. She specialized in environmental affairs. But we believe Prosser is the stronger candidate this time.

 

We recommend that voters return him to the court for another 10-year term.

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