I have not commented before about the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s “decision” in the John Doe II case — I am still trying to pull together all my thoughts about it. But this morning I must register my astonishment at the excerpts of the letter to attorneys written by Justice Prosser revealed in this Wisconsin Public Radio news story.

He claims that had he recused himself, in a way that would have satisfied the U.S. Supreme Court holding in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. (556 U.S. 868) (2009), the recusal would have undermined Supreme Court elections in the state of Wisconsin. Caperton held that the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires a judge to recuse himself not only when actual bias has been demonstrated or when the judge has an economic interest in the outcome of the case, but also when “extreme facts” create a “probability of bias.”

Prosser apparently claims that Caperton doesn’t apply in Wisconsin, because Wisconsin Supreme Court rules on recusal, written by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce do not require recusal based on money spent by independent groups. Conveniently, those rules were put in place by the four justices who are the biggest recipients of the “independent groups'” largesse, and took effect just in time for the closest Supreme Court election in Wisconsin’s history, between Justice Prosser and Joanne Kloppenburg.

Justice Prosser was supported in that election, in 2011, by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Wisconsin Club for Growth, who spent, respectively, $1.1 million and over $500,000, to secure his election. Both WMC and WCfG were prominently linked to the Walker campaign in the recall election in 2012; the John Doe II investigation focused on coordination between those organizations and the Walker campaign. If receipt of more than $1.6 million in electoral support, in an election decide by less than 0.5 percent of the vote, from organizations under investigation does not constitute “extreme facts,” I don’t know what would for Justice Prosser.

Justice Prosser’s recusal would not “undermine Supreme Court elections” in the State of Wisconsin. Had and Justice Gableman had the moral strength to recuse themselves, they would have gone far toward re-establishing the trust that Wisconsin citizens used to have in their Supreme Court. They went the other way, however.

Justice Prosser claims that,  “The people of Wisconsin knew who they were voting for. The special prosecutor should be expected to live with the results.”

Actually, no. The people of Wisconsin voted for an individual, not someone beholden to special interests. David Prosser did not run for election saying he would put the interests of WMC and Wisconsin Club for Growth above the interests of Wisconsin citizens in clean government.

Back in 2011, no one in Wisconsin expected the Supreme Court conservatives to demonstrate such willingness to destroy the public’s faith in impartial justice. We know better now, of course. We have learned the hard way.

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18 Responses to I will never recuse myself

  1. Duane12 says:

    And for the record, here’s Prosser’s “Decision not to prosecute abuse case” as the DA of Outagamie County in 1978 involving a Catholic priest: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Prosser,_Jr.#Decision_not_to_prosecute_abuse_case

  2. Wisconsin Conservative digest says:

    Since judges are elected, get campaign donations it is impossible to ahve them recuse themselves.

    • Joanne Brown says:

      Well, judges and justices can exercise some judgment as to when they have received so much support from an organization like WMC — be it a direct donation to the campaign or through “issue advertising” on their behalf — that to the ordinary citizen it could appear they were influenced to make a decision one way or another. That is the holding of the Caperton case, which the majority of our state Supreme Court justices completely ignored. Why the conservative justices believe that they, too, will not be judged by citizens in the same way as other judges in other states would be assessed, as beholden to special interests who supported them in elections, is beyond me. Chief Justice Roggensack, and Justices Prosser, Gableman, and Ziegler have all received boatloads of support from the WMC and Wisconsin Club for Growth, and the way they have ruled in the John Doe and other cases makes it look like they are those organizations in spite of the the state constitution and applicable law. Even Newsweek recognizes this. They look bad. Under Caperton that is grounds for recusal, whether the rules put into place by these same four justices, at the behest of the very same organizations who have contributed so much money on their behalf, say they don’t have to recuse themselves or not.

      For you, Mr. Dohnal, to then claim that any campaign donation requires recusal is silly. The recusal requirements of Caperton are a matter of degree. The total amount of spending in the Kloppenburg-Prosser race was $5.7 million, on both sides. Of that, $1.6 million, was spent on Prosser’s behalf by two of the litigants in the John Doe case. That is 28 percent of TOTAL SPENDING — not even 28 percent of spending on Prosser’s behalf. How could this not present the appearance of a conflict of interest? And what makes you equate a $50 donation, or even a $100 donation, to the $1.6 million spent on Prosser’s behalf? Really. The figures are not comparable, and that’s why judges and justices should apply some judgment.

    • nonquixote says:

      Prosser, Schimel and today O’Keefe given extensive airtime to whine about their alleged personal victimhood and spew their unquestioned Republicon opinions on We’re Promoting Republicons radio so far this week.

      Looped those interviews and replay them on a little radio in the sweet corn and veggie patch and the racoon and the wood chuck suddenly are nowhere in sight.

      • Franklin Johnson says:

        Yessss!!!! Of course! I see and understand it so much clearer now!

        The untold millions and millions of dollars that the the unions and liberal activists in the state have spent to elect justices that share their beliefs would never need to recuse themselves… because clearly they are doing the “good work of the people”… conservative justices must always recuse themselves because of evil money donations. OF COURSE!!!

        • nonquixote says:

          Name any case where a high level WI Justice, one whom you would describe as a liberal activist, was sitting in judgement of the same people they received either directly or indirectly huge sums of money and then ruled in favor of the campaign contributors. Enough of the generalizations and painting with an unprovable broad brush. Be specific or stfu on the topic. I asked a nearly identical question of you previously on an earlier thread, on this very same topic, in these blog pages earlier in July, and no reply other than your attempt to change the topic.

          • Franklin Johnson says:

            Non, I’m having a hard time figuring you out. You appear to be an intelligent individual. Your arguments are nearly always sound and well reasoned. What I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around is how willfully ignorant you can be regarding nearly every thread you comment on.

            Name any case… How about every single lawsuit that has been brought forth in Dane county after Walker took office. EVERY ruling that has been handed down regarding ACT 10 and EVERY ruling regarding Voter ID was predetermined in DANE county. The only question was what incredible fantastical arguments would be made to justify the Judge overturning the will of the people.

            Do you honestly believe everything you are writing on this blog. Do you HONESTLY believe that the liberal judges in dane county and the liberal judges on the Supreme court base their decisions solely on the law. If your answer is YES than that truly is sad.

            Just like Duane12 continuing the LIE that Prosser choked anyone. But hey!!! If the lie supports the LIBERAL view of the world, than it must be the truth.

            I mean seriously…

            • Waukesha Blue says:

              OK… Got it!!!

            • nonquixote says:

              Changing the topic to me and questioning my intelligence is NOT answering the question which I asked. More word salad babble from you and more generalizations, yet you’ve NOT mentioned one instance where an liberal activist judge as you describe, “them” (not even a single name on any particular judge) or any single case where direct or indirect support with huge donations of cash that resulted in a legal judgement not only favoring but exonerating those very donors behind those campaign contributions.

              You made a claim, back it up or give it up. This isn’t about what I believe about your claims. Your feeble distractions from the question are quite apparent. Again, you made some claims and it appears there are no facts that you can produce to back up the claims you make.

              OFF TOPIC: The blog author/owner has been extremely lenient in letting you continue to post here. Yet you keep on with disrespecting his graciousness and the intelligence of everyone commentating and reading here by refusing to discuss anything, but simply pushing tired republicon dogmatic rhetoric. Your comments bear an uncanny resemblance to a Racine, BB troll, first name Denis, with everything you submit here. Intentional harassment appears as your only objective. You’ve yet to indicate any other motive.

              • Franklin Johnson says:

                NON! You read my post and think I’m insulting your intelligence? Seriously. I stated you seem intelligent but must be willfully ignorant. Exactly what would conservative justices be able to rule on in your mind IF they must recuse themselves from any case that might be connected to campaign money…

                VOTER ID?

                Act 10?

                John Doe?

                Everyone of those items have passionate opponents and supporters who donate to judicial candidates.

                Because you feel that every conservative ruling is suspect and every liberal ruling in dane county is perfect maybe my assumptions regarding your intelligence was misplaced.

                As I said poorly to Joanne due to voice to text. It must be boring to preach the same nonsense to people who all agree with you. Putting blinders on must be fun.

                Duane is all ready to support Hillary who is the most corrupt individual to ever run for president. She makes Scott Walker look like an EAGLE SCOUT. But HEY!!! She is LIBERAL and is AWESOME!!!

                Liberal judges!!! YEAH

                • jhs says:

                  Yea. and then there’s the “liberal judge that let jensen off with a wrist slap after the “liberals” in the capitol jiggered laws to send cases to “liberal” waukesha cty. Ah then there’s our illustrious AG giving kramer a great plea deal.

                  That’s real liberal of them ya think?

                • nonquixote says:

                  You don’t have a clue what I believe about anything.

                  Enough stalling, cut the crap, you still can’t answer my original question about backing your claims about liberal activist judges. Thought as much, poser.

  3. Duane12 says:

    It seems one could say on this occasion that Prosser “choked” again.

    Lady Justice cries out, “woe unto me.”

  4. Franklin Johnson says:

    Back in 2011 EVERYBODY in Wisconsin expected the dane country LIBERAL justices to demonstrate such willingness to destroy the publics faith in impartial justice. You seed everyone outside of dane county knows the fix is in for every liberal cause as long as the judge is from madison. Not shocking in the least.

  5. Joanne Brown says:

    Come on, Franklin, or whoever you are, you are beating a very tired horse indeed. The Act 10 cases came up in Dane County because statutes required it. If the Dane County judges, elected by the citizens of Dane County, ruled against the state, it was because their reading of the facts and the law required that ruling, not because of political leanings one way or another. Other judges in other counties might very well have ruled the same way. We will never know that, will we? (And don’t even think of using Judge Randa as an example — his findings and opinions have been overturned multiple times, including in the John Doe, by decidedly conservative 7th Circuit judges.)

    We do know, however, that the majority of the state a Supreme Court justices do not follow precedent or the rule of law, as evidenced by their beyond-thin reasoning in the John Doe II decision. They introduced into their opinions facts that were never legally established. They quoted people who never appeared in the case to “substantiate” their claims about something that wasn’t an issue in any of the three John Doe cases before him. It is hard to call Roggensack, Ziegler, Gableman, and Prosser “justices” for they have soiled that title with their perversion of justice.

    • Franklin Johnson says:

      Again Joanne, i ask you the same question I asked non. You honestly believe in your heart of hearts that the decisions that have been made by the Dane County liberal judges have been based solely on the rule of law.

      I suppose you also believe that the GAB has been nonpartisan.

      You also can watch the planned parenthood videos and not see that they are selling human baby parts for profit.

      I enjoy a debate I enjoy listening to people’s different point of views I think it is incredibly fantastic that I can read this site on a daily basis and heAR the same people over and over again I’ll parenting the same information without craft mean that there is another side to every story every conservative this the devil every liberal that does the same or worse than a conservative does all that doesn’t matter because they’re away bro so it is ok it is the same crap every day I love it the same people over and over again all parroting the same information without grasping that there is another side to every story every conservative is the devil every liberal that does the same or worse than a conservative doe, well that doesn’t matter because they are a liberal so it is okay… it is the same crap everyday I love it

  6. Joanne Brown says:

    That’s enough, Franklin Johnson. Zach, please don’t approve any more comments from this poster on this thread. S/he adds nothing to conversation. Thanks.

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