Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Controversial Wisconsin state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has a new special investigator looking into allegations of assault made against him by another sitting Supreme Court Justice.
At the request of Dane County Circuit Judge William Faust, Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett (R) agreed to serve as a special prosecutor regarding the physical assault and battery allegations made by WI Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. Bradley claims that Prosser placed her in a "chokehold" during a contentious argument about the overturning of a lower court ruling on Gov. Scott Walker's controversial and hastily enacted union-busting legislation. The lower court found that it was passed in violation of the state's open meeting law and is therefore null and void. Prosser and his 3 colleagues on the bench who enjoy a 4 to 3 Right-leaning majority on the state's high court, eventually overturned the lower court's ruling. Bradley was in the minority.
According to Tim McCumber, the head of the Sauk County GOP, Barrett is essentially an independent who ran for DA in 1994 as a Republican to get onto the ballot in a GOP-dominated county. Barrett, who is 62 and plans to retire in the fall of 2012, stated that she does not see either the sheriff's or prosecutor's jobs as a partisan one.
The key question is whether Barrett and the WI Judicial Commission can proceed in their investigations on the basis of the facts and the law? What is at stake is not simply a possible Class A Misdemeanor Battery charge against a sitting Supreme Court Justice. The very survival of the rule of law in the Badger state is spotlighted here. All if this happens with a backdrop of a billionaire-funded, partisan onslaught on fundamental fairness and democracy, not only as it pertains to the electoral process, but in how the state's executive, legislative and judicial branches of government function...