Monday, June 27, 2011

Keeping it Meme-y, Part 2

We now return to the strange tale of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the dispute between Justices David Prosser and Ann Bradley. The initial allegation is that Prosser, apparently in a fit of rage, choked or attempted to choke Justice Bradley. The source of the allegation is a single-sourced account that made the rounds of the leftosphere, most prominently at ThinkProgress.

As we noted earlier this morning, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had an account that offered a very different version of the same events, in which Justice Bradley was the instigator and that Prosser was defending himself.

Ann Althouse has, not surprisingly, been all over the matter and offers the following observations:

I’m reading the Journal Sentinel’s account as referring to 3 — not 2 — sources, with 2 of the 3 versions portraying Bradley as the aggressor: “the source… another source… [a]nother source….”

I want to know not only what really happened at the time of the physical contact (if any) between the 2 justices, but also who gave the original story to the press. If Prosser really tried to choke a nonviolent Bradley, he should resign. But if the original account is a trumped-up charge intended to destroy Prosser and obstruct the democratic processes of government in Wisconsin, then whoever sent the report out in that form should be held responsible for what should be recognized as a truly evil attack.
I agree that if Prosser attacked Bradley, he must resign. But Althouse also makes an equally important observation:

Everyone who thinks Prosser must to resign if he attacked Bradley ought to say that if Bradley attacked Prosser, she should resign. 
That doesn't seem to be happening, though. And Althouse knows why:

If that happens, then the tactic of leaking the original version of the story to the press will have backfired horrifically for Democrats, as Governor Scott Walker will name the Justice to replace Bradley. If both Justices erred and must resign, that will be 2 appointments for Walker, both of whom, I would imagine, will be stronger, younger, and more conservative than Prosser, and, with Bradley gone, the liberal faction on the court will be reduced to 2, against a conservative majority of 5.

It's enough to leave you feeling lost in the funhouse. But let's think for a moment about a few things.
  • If the Journal Sentinel account is correct, as many as 6 of the 7 justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court were in the room at the time of the incident. Either Prosser or Bradley is lying about what happened. Such lying might or might not be grounds for impeachment, but given everything else that's happened it would certainly be on the table.
  • If Bradley's version were correct, it boggles the imagination that the other justices would have let Prosser get by with his actions. He'd surely have been arrested, because anything less would involve the majority of the Supreme Court tolerating a physical assault on one of its members.
  • Does it not strike you as more likely that someone associated with Bradley decided to leak the story in the hope that Prosser would fold?
I think we can draw a number of conclusions from this incident.

First, it's evident that the Democrats in Wisconsin view the events of the last several months as being such an existential threat to their continued success that they are willing to do just about anything to stop events from going forward. And, to use the useful British term for crazy behavior, the Democrats have "lost the plot."

Second, I think the Democrats and their allies greatly underestimate David Prosser's will to survive. He's been attacked in just about every way imaginable over the last few months and he's not folded yet.

Third, Bradley is now in a tough spot. If Bradley were to file a police report, her statements would be under oath. If she's telling the truth, she has nothing to fear about making such statements. But if it were determined that she is filing a false report, she'd be breaking the law and putting her career in jeopardy. She might be able to prosecute the case through the media for a while, but eventually she's going to have to provide an answer that squares with the conflicting accounts of her behavior.

Fourth, since the witnesses in the case are the other justices of the Supreme Court, eventually another justice has to corroborate her story. Do you suppose that any other Justice is going to corroborate the Bradley version of events?

There's more still. We'll take that up anon.


Anonymous said...

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, can we refer to Prosser as "the choking judge?" ;)

This is the first I have heard of this whole incident. This should make for a fun chapter in the political funhouse. The Weiner story was really losing it legs.

BTW, you didn' source this from the Onion. Did you?


Gino said...

we had almost similar on the floor of the CA statehouse: two old guys started to charge each other.

it's important that stories like this, and weiner, get out. people need to know that govt, and those involved in it, are no better than any group of kids at a high school club meeting in the lunch area...

and through extension, should not have so much power over us.

Mr. D said...


No -- the Onion is significantly more reputable than ThinkProgress.


Damn straight.