Thursday, June 30, 2011
A Question of Ethics
How can we respect the Wisconsin Supreme Court when the moral and ethical conduct of its members is in question? Justice Annette Ziegler has been disciplined for conflicts of interest in cases where she ruled in favor of corporations wherein she had an undisclosed personal financial interest. Charges against Justice Michael Gableman for lying about his opponent Justice Louis Butler during their election campaign were dropped when the other Justices voted a three to three tie about his case, therefore making the case a moot issue. Now published reports claim that Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has been physically choked by Justice David Prosser in relation to arguing about their work on a politically significant case which obviously they eventually decided along political party lines. Also, it has been reported that Justice David Prosser has referred to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson as a "bitch." And that’s just the tip of the ice berg.
The Supreme Court has a long history of making creative decisions and new law in order to cover up the wrongdoings of friends and associates. Sometimes, important appeal questions are not answered or even addressed in order to allow a decision to remain in favor of the attorney general, to the detriment of a citizen petitioner. Sometimes the entire legal community is abuzz with questions concerning the conduct of Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, her leadership of the Court and her dodging of certain legal issues. Evidence has recently surfaced that indicates then Justice Louis Butler had at least one ex-party communication with an assistant attorney general on a case that was pending at the time. And I have personal knowledge that Justice Ann Walsh Bradley added a false derogatory opinion about an attorney in a published decision in order to protect a circuit court judge.
Decisions made by the Supreme Court can ultimately ruin a citizen financially, or even worse, deprive someone of his freedom. While no one, or entity, could ever be perfect we have the absolute right to demand better conduct from the Supreme Court and should expect nothing less. In order to regain the credibility of the Supreme Court, justices who cannot properly conduct themselves should step down and allow someone with higher ethics and moral conduct to take their place. But, that will never happen.