CommunityThe Bullpen

Wisconsin Ruling Underlines Importance of State Supreme Court Election April 5

As I reported earlier, a Dane County judge has filed a temporary restraining order to block implementation of the anti-union bill in Wisconsin. The judge, Maryann Sumi, said the prosecution is likely to be successful in their lawsuit saying that the process for the conference committee on the bill violated Wisconsin open meeting laws. Attorneys for Gov. Walker plan to appeal the restraining order and will surely appeal any ruling.

So once again, allow me to stress the importance of the state Supreme Court election coming up in Wisconsin on April 5. Under the currently constructed Supreme Court, four Republican appointees and three Democratic appointees would hear the case. But one of those Republicans is David Prosser, a former Speaker of the State Assembly. And he has already said that he would basically be a rubber stamp on the court for the Republican Party.

HOST: Okay. Right now we’re facing huge protests against the budget repair bill here in Wisconsin which is setting quite a precedent in the country. What are the chances that that would go to the Supreme Court, that bill.

PROSSER: I would say about 100 percent.

HOST: Really?

PROSSER: I would think that there’s going to be champ—I’m sure there’s going to be litigation on the Court and in fact, I think part of the effort against me in the campaign is to replace me on the Court in the event this bill and other legislation passed by the new governor and legislature are litigated. I think that they want someone on the Court who will be an almost automatic vote against anything that comes out of the new legislature.

Read between the lines here. This was in front of a Republican audience, and he’s playing on their fears of his opposition, Assistant US Attorney JoAnn Kloppenburg. He’s saying to vote for him because his opponent would rule against Scott Walker. The implications are clear. In fact, Prosser’s campaign has said he wants to “complement” the work of Walker and the Republican legislature, and that his view and Walker’s “closely mirror” one another. He cannot come out and say he’d be a reliable vote, but that’s clearly what he’s hinting at. Here’s him doing that on a local radio show:

STEVE: It is for sure and another thing that I’d like to point out that’s quite interesting, in the upcoming race for Supreme Court is that Justice Prosser is a pro-life candidate and the three opponents that he’s running against are not pro-life, so … I take it, Justice Prosser, that you hold life dearly and you believe that that is not something that is not to be messed with.

PROSSER: Well, Steve, I have to be very careful what I say because I cannot commit myself, I, as a judge …

STEVE: I understand.

KIM: Yeah.

PROSSER: In deciding a case in a particular way. On the other hand, people can look at what I’ve done over a lifetime and kind of read between the lines.

The Greater Wisconsin Committee, a progressive organization, is up with a new website, Prosser Equals Walker, detailing Prosser’s long history of Republican ideological activism. Walker and Prosser voted the same way in the legislature 95% of the time. The GWC also has a long fact sheet detailing his conservative bona fides.

Prosser is whitewashing his record in TV ads. But his ideological lean is clear. And as he has intimated, his vote will absolutely be decisive on the anti-union law, which is working its way through the courts.

This election happens in 2 1/2 weeks, and the fate of the assault on workers’ rights really does hang in the balance. That’s aside from the fact that it would represent a vote of no-confidence in Scott Walker.

Previous post

America's Wily Coyote Moment

Next post

The UN Security Council Has Not Authorized Regime Change in Libya

David Dayen

David Dayen

1 Comment