When did the Wisconsin Supreme Court become Fight Club?

June 26, 2011

This is one of the weirder stories I’ve seen in a while, and it’s illustrative of how heated Wisconsin politics have become in the wake to the government’s efforts to rein in public employee union privileges: either newly-reelected Justice David Prosser tried to strangle a colleague in her chambers in front of witnesses, or she attacked him and he was defending himself. Byron York has the story(ies):

Over the weekend, a Madison-based liberal journalism group reported that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser “allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck in an argument in her chambers last week.”  Prosser, a conservative, was recently re-elected in a contested election in which he was the target of an intense union-funded effort to defeat him.  The argument was said to be about the court’s 4-3 decision allowing the Walker budget law, with its restrictions on organized labor, to go into effect.

The report said details of the incident were “sketchy” and came from three sources who insisted on anonymity, “citing a need to preserve professional relationships.”  Neither Prosser nor Bradley commented.

But wait, there’s another version:

As the activist press was running with the story, new evidence emerged in a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report to suggest the matter was more complicated than originally reported.  Whatever happened, happened during a meeting of six of the court’s seven justices; in other words, there were several witnesses.  One witness supported the original accusation.  But another witness said that during a heated conversation, Bradley “charged [Prosser] with fists raised” and that Prosser had put out his own hands defensively.  According to one of the paper’s sources, Bradley then accused Prosser of choking her, to which another justice reportedly replied, “You were not choked.”

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, first: whatever did happen up there, it’s evident one of the two justices physically attacked the other. This is unacceptable in any case, but particularly from people who are supposed to be sober interpreters of the law and upholders of the rule of law. Whoever is at fault should resign and allow Governor Walker to appoint a replacement. (1)

As much as it is about the conflicting stories of what happened, York’s article also shows how, for the Left and Big Labor, the Battle of Madison is not yet over. Leftist papers and web sites, while piously saying Prosser should not be judged before all the facts were out, were quick to paint him as the aggressor and to point out ways he can be removed from office. (You may recall Prosser’s vote was crucial to upholding the controversial collective bargaining law passed over union screeching a few months ago.) In other words, fearful that the reforms Wisconsin enacted will spread, as they already have in Ohio and Tennessee, the Left is taking any shot it has to overturn election results and quash democratically enacted laws. And when you look at the groups involved and who’s funding them (2), it’s likely there’s coordination at well-beyond the state level.

And we’re going to see many more efforts like this as other states try to right their finances, while public unions and their Democratic allies try to keep the money-train rolling.

Footnotes:

(1) Which the Left should not want, since Walker would almost certainly appoint conservative justices. Be careful what you ask for, progressives…

(2) Both the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, which broke the original story rumor, and the Center for American Progress, parent of the web site Think Progress, which described ways to remove Prosser from office, receive money either from George Soros as an individual, or through his Open Society Institute. While not probative, it’s certainly suggestive.

UPDATE: Some good discussions at both Althouse and Legal Insurrection. At the latter, Professor Jacobson points out that only one justice is saying a crime was committed: Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, accusing Justice Prosser. She should either back up her charge with evidence, or retract it and apologize.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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When Democrat congressmen go wild

October 16, 2010

First, we saw Bob Etheridge (D-NC)  attack a student asking him a question:

Then , Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) acted as if he was about to swat a constituent with a newspaper, as one would a dog:

Now we have Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) first telling a reporter to shut up…

…and then going for his throat:

After the shooters turned off their cameras and started to break down, Hinchey made a beeline for Kemble and got in his face, according to a YNN videographer who was on the scene. The congressman poked Kemble in the chest aggressively, according to the YNN staffer.

I spoke with Kemble briefly this afternoon, and he told me Hinchey “put his hand on my throat” and then “realized what he had done and walked away.” The YNN shooter told me he did not witness this part of the altercation.

(via Legal Insurrection)

The oligarchs are frightened, folks, and when frightened, they might lash out at peasants (i.e., us) who dare to question their exalted, entitled selves.

Let’s be careful out there.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Ask questions of a congressman? How dare you!

June 14, 2010

Maybe the strain of voting for the worst legislation since Smoot-Hawley is getting to poor “Representative” Bob Etheridge of North Carolina’s second district. Could it be guilt and fear of the voters’ wrath that causes him to physically assault student journalists who had the insolence to ask him questions? Tito, roll tape:

Big Government explains:

Last week, Democrat Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-NC2) attended a fundraiser headlined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He was asked by some students on the street whether he supported the “Obama Agenda.” He didn’t take it well.

Expect more of this. The hard, progressive left captured the Democrat majority in Congress and forced them to enact a fantasy grab-bag of legislation that is increasingly unpopular with the American public. We’re on the cusp of a deeper recession, millions of unemployed Americans have no prospect for work, taxes are about to spike higher and we’ve maxed out the national credit card. The Democrats were given a chance to run government and they’ve only succeeded in running it into the ground.

So, yeah, Democrats who are up for reelection this November are a bit testy.

(…)

Let’s recap what we saw on this video. A sitting Congressman–a presumed living extension of James Madison and other founding fathers–was asked on a public street whether he supported the President’s agenda. His response was to hit away a video camera and assault a student. The age of Pericles this ain’t.

No, it isn’t. Looks like Congressman Etheridge needs a time out.  You can help him get one by contributing to his opponent.

LINKS: Further thoughts from Roger Kimball.

UPDATE: Etheridge apologizes:

“I have seen the video posted on several blogs. I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response. I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.”

Fine, but the residents of his district should still fire him.

LINK: More at Pajamas Media.