As with many of you, I have been a bit stunned at the import of the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision yesterday. Yeah, I know we expected a partisan decision, but I simply can’t get over the notion that the Supreme Court won’t enforce a law the legislature passed. Oh, sure, there’s lots of inside baseball to discuss about whether the law was just about internal procedures of the legislature or not (I discussed with my corporate lawyer spouse who’s worked for a federal judge and a congressional committee), and there are lots of silver linings being bandied about concerning riling up democrats in time for the recall elections, etc. Still, I’m stunned.
So I thought I’d read the decision. And then I got stuck at paragraph #18, written by Justice David Prosser, easily the biggest stinking and dripping sack of smelly “Duh” I’ve ever read. This paragraph, more than any other fact unveiled about David Prosser in the six months of his political campaign, is a testimony to why he should never have been elected and why judges should never be elected. Here it is, from the Wisconsin Supreme Court web site:
¶18 This case is an offshoot of the turbulent political times that presently consume Wisconsin. In turbulent times, courts are expected to act with fairness and objectivity. They should serve as the impartial arbiters of legitimate legal issues. They should not insert themselves into controversies or exacerbate existing tensions. In the present dispute, different parties claim to speak for the State. It is the inescapable responsibility of this court to determine the law to facilitate a resolution of the dispute.
Where to begin. . . Prosser begins with stating the obvious in three straight clauses, then on his fourth consecutive statement of the obvious he states that courts should not exacerbate tensions, evidently in criticism of Judge Sumi, and then defends this present decision, which has attracted huge crowds of protestors. The guy should be retired for proving he was asleep for the last five months.
I can’t get past this paragraph and its conclusion, that Justice Prosser thinks this decision has in fact resolved a dispute. There is no other conclusion to be had but that Justice Prosser is stupid. Alas, the stupidity is so monumental that it must have some sort of secret power, as I’m still unable to get past paragraph #18 in the last 18 hours since opening the document.