Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The First Recall Election

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

David Prosser is a partisan. Started out as an aide to a Republican congressman. Went on to serve as a Republican district attorney. Then as a longtime Republican assemblyman. Eventually became speaker of the house. Was appointed to the officially nonpartisan Supreme Court by his friend Tommy Thompson, both a reward for Prosser's years of labor for their party and salve on the wound opened when he lost his bid for a seat in Congress to a TV anchorman.

While on the bench Prosser agreed to be a character witness for his friend Scott Jensen. And he carried water for key GOP backers Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the Wisconsin Realtors Association, allowing the two groups to write new judicial ethics rules permitting Wisconsin judges to rule on cases involving their biggest campaign supporters.

Prosser hired a Republican operative to run his reelection campaign, and when Scott Walker was elected governor, Prosser's campaign was eager to hitch his wagon to Walker's. The campaign issued a statement saying that, if reelected, Prosser would serve as a complement to the new governor and his allies in the Legislature.

As Walker's push to strip public workers of their bargaining rights whipped up into a political firestorm, Prosser has tried to back away from his campaign's statement. But he undercut his attempt to distance himself in recent days when he told newsman Bill Lueders that he has "the most partisan background of any member of the court" and both parroted Walker's message and seemed to give the governor friendly advice by saying it is "imperative that the state get its fiscal house in order (and) send a message that this is a great place to do business. (And) it would seem to me that the governor makes his strongest case when he can show a linear relationship between the proposal he makes and our fiscal situation."

Them's fightin' words to those inflamed by Walker's union-busting actions and Robin Hood-in-reverse budget plan. Walker's opponents see a linear relationship between the governor and Justice Prosser, and they see it because Prosser himself has gone to great lengths to make it plainly apparent. April 5 will be the first opportunity for those who have been marching in mass and circulating recall petitions and boycotting business donors to voice their displeasure through the ballot box. Making the election for the supposedly nonpartisan Supreme Court a very partisan referendum on Scott Walker and his allies. Making it the first recall election.


Anonymous said...

Justice Prosser did not "los[e] his bid for a seat in Congress to a TV anchorman." He lost the primary election to the candidate who lost to television weatherman Jay Johnson.

Anonymous said...

Why does it not surprise me that you omitted the rest of Justice Prosser's quote, in which he said implies that Scott Walker is unable to show such a relationship? Or the rest of the interview, in which he stated that he disagrees with parts of the bill?