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COMMENTARY: 'Supreme' idiocy all around

By   /   June 27, 2011  /   33 Comments

By Kevin Binversie

With the Capitol Police handing over the investigation to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, the fact is, right now, we don’t know much about what actually happened in the hallowed chambers of our Wisconsin Supreme Court. That lack of information appears to be intentional.

On Saturday morning, a left-wing outfit supported in part by grants from George Soros’ Open Society Institute called the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism dropped a story that during a heated argument, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser – a conservative just re-elected in April – placed his hands around the neck of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, a member of the court’s liberal wing and close confidante of Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

The initial article was written by Bill Lueders, based on what he called “sketchy details” from three sources he cited on the basis of anonymity. To his credit, Lueders did not use the words “choked” or “strangled” in his initial report because clearly his sources could not confirm if it got to that point. Yet by the time his story was picked up by the liberal blogosphere, choking and strangling became the accepted version of events. They called for Prosser to resign.

Yet, when reporters of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dug into it, they found multiple sources giving a more nuanced story. One source confirmed that Prosser’s hands were around Bradley’s neck, but said the justice didn’t apply any pressure. Another source told the Milwaukee newspaper it was instead Justice Bradley who was the aggressor — that she, in fact, charged at Prosser “with fists raised,” and he raised his hands to defend himself in the chaos. Another source put four of the other Supreme Court justices in the room, with one of them quoted as saying to an agitated and angry Bradley, “You were not choked.”

Prosser has since denied the reports in a statement and is no longer commenting. He said an investigation will prove the accusations false. Bradley, meanwhile, has doubled-down on the “he choked me!” line and repeated it in statements to the press.

To add insult to insanity, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who has seen everything from his Democratic colleagues fleeing to Illinois to almost non-stop protests during floor sessions, called the alleged “Supreme Court Scrum,” “crazier than the legislature.

These new reports from the Journal Sentinel so changed the dynamic of the initial report. It caused the Center for Investigative Journalism to change its own version of the story to make it more in line with other media sources.

Lueders is many things. He’s a well-respected writer on both sides of the political divide in Wisconsin for a number of decades. He helped in the founding and development of two well-known and well-read local (but overwhelmingly liberal) weeklies in the Shepherd Express of Milwaukee and The Isthmus in Madison. But no one has ever said he’s a journalist first. Lueders – like the Madison Capitol Times’ John Nichols and The Isthmus David Blaska – is an activist journalist.

And that appears to be the case here. Traditionally, any story built from ‘sketchy’ details, based on anonymous sources should have never seen the light of day until Lueders had the full story. He has been in the industry long enough to know that, so either he let it slide on this one, or he just didn’t care because of he felt he had Prosser — a conservative he’s never had much love for — dead to rights.

There are a lot of factors here, all of which are along the lines of stupid and petty. So stupid and petty, you’d think we were dealing with toddlers and not some of the most respected legal minds in the state of Wisconsin.

Yes, Prosser has a temper and a short fuse. This is a well-known and documented fact since his Assembly days. However, what’s lost in a lot of the coverage is the apparent sycophantic defense Walsh Bradley has for Chief Justice Abrahamson if the “she charged him version” of the events is true.

The battle of factions within the Wisconsin Supreme Court is well-known in both the state’s legal and political circles; but now it’s to a point that public back-stabbing and reports of physical altercations only help feed growing concern the court is teetering into professional dysfunction. Somewhere, someone has to be the adult in the room; but from the look of things, we’re a long way from that with the justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Kevin Binversie is a Wisconsin native who has been blogging on the state’s political culture for more than eight years. He has served in the George W. Bush administration from 2007-2009, worked at the Heritage Foundation and has worked on numerous Wisconsin Republican campaigns in various capacities, most recently as research director for Ron Johnson for Senate. Contact him at [email protected]


  • If Bradley was behind her desk when this started how did Prosser get at her?

    Truth is she came around from behind the desk in a fury and came after Prosser.

    He put his hands up to stop her and to avoid grabbing her “you know whats” he got her neck.

    If she had been attacked do you not think that she would gave reported it immediatley to get Prosser?

    Bob Dohnal, Publisher

    The Conservative Digest

  • Carie Kendrick

    All this is past the point of “out of control.” Anyone who has been to the Capitol during the chaos brought by union supporters can be a witness to my statement. The Left has been enacting laws that have been totally against what Conservatives want or believe in-Obamacare comes to mind. Yet there’s not been the vindictive reaction I, and many others, have witnessed since Republicans took back control. Abrahamson had flipped off the consevative justices when she was called the “B” word, but there was no mention of her instigation. Bradley charges justice Prosser in a rage, yet it’s his fault. The leftist justices seem to be vicious and purposely taunting as a last ditch effort to in some way gain support for the union agenda, and discredit anyone in opposition. We’re tired of judges thinking they can legislate from the bench (Sumi). And tired of the tantrum from union folk. We’ve tried things your way and it doesn’t work. Now give us a chance-try a different approach. If it doesn’t work, I’ll be the first to join in the fight to change it back.

  • Wow. And you were right there and saw it all? It’s those damned old Democrats after the poor Republicans once again… Will it ever stop?

    IF there is an investigation, and IF there are credible eye witnesses, will you then succumb to the fact that Prosser is a piece of Sh*t?

  • Mary

    This is yet another attempt at the liberal union mafia to discredit conservatives. Will the ever grow up!

  • Ron Langevin

    Very nice choice of words, look in the mirror for a real POS.

  • Ron Langevin

    Bodywise yes, brainwise, stopped at about the 3rd grade if they got that far!

  • Gary S.

    Stories like this almost always leave an odor of disbelief. I tend to believe Prosser’s version, as it is usually the liberals who incite the violence and resort to hate rhetoric. Look at what recently happened in Madison and look at the fools the media chose to focus on- posters calling Walker “Hitler”, character assassination, one wacked-out fool proclaiming that “he’s the meanest liberal around” as if he’s daring anyone of a differing opinion to cross his path and, even those mobs of idiots who encircled a young woman and shouted vulgar obcenities at her just because she had a Walker sticker on her vehicle.

    Look at the actions of the “left”- protesting a special olympics ceremony in Madison, an “upstanding college citizen” parading around in a pink dress, the hate speech and the “quick to anger” behavior. This is all the proof I need to dismiss this story as bogus. The Shepard news rag in Milwaukee– just background noise; something to be ignored and not regarded as factual reporting. Walsh-Bradley and Abrahamson are both loud mouthed, vile, ill-tempered loudmouths with an axe to grind. Their behavior is typical of the leftist crowd.

    The choking and assault claims are most likely bogus.

  • Roger Roy

    How about all you leftists move to Cuba or North Korea or maybe Red China? You have destroyed our state and our country. Hope you’re happy.

  • John

    I have heard a lot of people say that if Justice Bradley’s version is correct, Prosser must resign. While I have to agree with that statement to a point, I am disturbed that these same people do not talk about the flip side of the statement. What if Justice Bradley’s version is false? I think in that case, there is a huge problem for she would not only be a liar, she would have intentionally and falsely accussed Justice Prosser of unethical and illegal activity. In that case, there is no doubt she should have to resign. Am I wrong?

    The truth is always somewhere in between in which case both should resign along with the Chief for allowing decorum to erode to the point where open hostility is commonplace.

  • JungleCogs

    The Totalitarian Progressive Socialists will say and do anything, as the end justifies the means with these people. I have seen all I need to with these union mobs in Madison. These people are out of control and it is a good thing that we will have concealed carry as we will have to protect our homes and family against these Lefty mobs.

  • Lynda Holton

    If Bradley has a case-press charges. Otherwise shut up. I liked Carie ‘s comment although she has waaayyyyy too much common sense.

  • bea

    JACK !

    You and I have had some strained words of personal differences on politics and policy… Over the last 6 months, I have wondered out loud many times which side of this continuing debate you are on… ? BUT ! you have always held any words of profanity to more diplomatic language and dialogue. I am very very disappointed in this sudden and very wrathful explosion of anger ! SHAME on you for such hatred and anger !

    I shall reject (not that it will matter much to you! ) all of the supposedly good things that you have attempted to share with the “undiscerning public”… (as will many others who were wondering just what is YOUR hidden agenda all about… ) I now am able to see that you are another “closeted liberal” trying to convince people that you are not liberal but seeing things that others aren’t ! that you are in your own eyes just “fighting the good fight to disclose the bad tactics of government and politicians” ! JACK!!

    I believe you have come out of the closet JACK!!! how does it feel to be so ” liberated” ?


  • BC1952

    Why don’t you conservatives move to Texas…and when they succeed from the Union, we can invade (just like we in other oil countries) and take your oil! Please move….

  • BC1952

    Your state will be destroyed when citizens can no longer afford to drive to work, afford to buy products made in your state (nothing is made there anymore..all in China), when your wages are so low you can’t buy food, when food shortages are high because farmers can’t afford to grow, and on and on. When the middle class is poor, you state will fail. With republican conservatives in office who care nothing about the middle class..you will feel the difference. Wait and see…….

  • Bill

    Sounds like Bradley needs some rage control and anger management.

  • Jack Lohman is a closet liberal…After all these years…And I won’t use “closet” any more.

  • Mike

    He said – She said

    We said – They said

    What a piece of reporting trash. Unless you were in the room there are NO facts here. What do I believe? I believe that teh Democrats in Wisconsin are a bunch of cry babies when they don’t get their way.

    It was proven when they went to Illinois to “protect” the rest of us. Just imagine what the headlines would have been if the Republicans left town.

    Like I’ve said before and will obviuously say again – Madison is 70 square miles surrounded by reality!

    Have A Nice Day!


  • It’s the Thunda in the Rotunda


  • Kathleen Schofield

    The Union left tried so hard to get Prosser out and even the recall didn’t work. So they are trying the next best thing. …. to discredit him to such a degree that people will be calling for his resignation. Sorry folks, the Democrats have become demoncrats. I think we need the right people to come in to

    Madison and beginning with the State Supreme Court, ‘Excercise the demons that are trying to take over our State’.

  • Just how in the world did you manage to assemble all of those charges based on what I said above? Wow, you are really good. Does not liking to see a “distinguished” judge act like a hooligan make me a “Liberal?” Then so be it. Call me the L word, even while the L’s call me a right-wing wacko for supporting zero taxes on corporations and voter ID. But being on this so-called non-partisan site lets me breathe easier.

  • Badger One

    Jack Lohman used to claim that he was just a Republican businessman saddened by the actions of his Republican party. It turns out to have been a lie; then and now. He was a donor to Ed Garvey in the 90’s and a consistent donor to Jim Sullivan and Kathleen Falk in recent years. He is the classic limousine lefty.

  • Badger One

    Jack Lohman describes himself this way:

    ” I’m a center-right Republican that voted for McCain/Palin, though right-wingers call me left wing and left-wingers call me right wing. I like it that way. You can call me what you want. I’m pragmatic rather than ideological.

    I also voted for Bush twice, though now I want a do-over. He will go down in history as the most inept president ever. His policies have been both self-serving and anti-public interest.”

    Interesting that he ~never~ has contributed to Republicans. He has only contributed to far left democrats. His statements about “voting for” Republicans are, of course, as unverifiable as they are unlikely. People vote the way they give.

  • And I likely will NOT contribute to R’s. I *AM* a center-right Reagan Republican that has seen his party taken over by the far-right fringe. The ONLY way we will get it back is to reject the far-right and elect progressives (NOT far-Lefties!).

    What is terribly distressing to me is to see our so-called “values conservatives” lose whatever values they had and accept even more tax cuts for the wealthy even when our nation is in the lower third of nations taxed. And in the process to trash things like medicare and Social Security, which people have paid into most of their lives. My kids and your kids deserve better.

    But please, criticize me as you will, even while hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet. It is so refreshing.

  • Indeed your are correct, IF she is proven to have falsely charged. It cuts both ways, though we have seen videos of Prosser coming unglued.

  • I have answered your foot-stomping above at http://www.wisconsinreporter.com/commentary-supreme-idiocy-all-around#comment-2689

    My contributions as listed by WDC are incorrect, showing about twice as many checks as I have written, and three contributions duplicated. I’ve never given to a “sitting” politician. Don’t believe in it. (Excuse me, I gave to John McCain, but he was running for president.)

    I DID give $100 to Sullivan to defeat the Republican that even the Republicans couldn’t stomach. And to Garvey because he was NOT a politician and I trusted him. Voted for Johnson and against Feingold (must have pulled the wrong lever). Voted against Walker because I sensed we’d get what we are going to get, and I don’t like it.

    But enough about me, how are you blind-folded Republicans liking the last decade?

  • Kate

    If you read all the articles, it’s becoming more obvious that Ann Walsh Bradley was the agressor in this and here’s why:

    If you read the articles in the Milwaukee Journal and the one by Lueders, the sources that say he defended himself when she attacked were actually in the room witnessing the event.

    The sources that say he choked her were not in the room. They heard it from someone in the room, which appears to be Ann Walsh Bradley.

    If you very carefully read the information about the anonymous sources in both articles, it becomes very clear.

    As a former reporter, this is some of the worst journalism I’ve ever seen on the part of Bill Lueders. He should be fired for his article and sued, and Justice Bradley should be disciplined or lose her spot on the bench. This is just another example of why people don’t trust the media any more.

  • Gerald Jensen

    What is fishy about this to me is that, if things were as Bradley has claimed, she didn’t immediately pick up the phone, dial 911, and file a criminal complaint.

    My wife and daughters are all professional women, and I assure you that if anyone did to them what Prosser has been accused of doing to Bradley, the police would have been called and charges preferred before anyone talked to any reporters.

    The fact that she didn’t, and waited almost two weeks, gives rise to the suspicion that the facts might not bear out her accusations. In truth, if her intention is only to embarrass Prosser and try to drive him from the court, then she is getting a lot more mileage in the press doing it this way than doing the logical thing.

    Further, the dysfunctional situation with the court is indicative of a leadership problem. Maybe it is time for Shirley Abrahamson to retire and let some new blood take the wheel.

  • Roy

    I don’t wear a blindfold. I don’t know what you mean by that.

  • Is this really the best we can expect from our judges? Is it really the best we can expect from “reporters”? Aren’t we better than this? Shouldn’t we be? I’m so disappointed.

  • Roy, what I mean by that is that there are Righties that are drinking the Kool-aid, believing that the conservative fat cats are going to do the right thing for the country. Just as there are Lefties that swoon every time Obama opens his mouth. Neither is smart.

    We are collectively getting screwed, and WE must come together as a united team to fight for the best interest of the country. The first effort should be to get the bribes out of the system, and if we did that I wouldn’t care which party was in control. If the D’s were not taking cash from the unions and the R’s were not taking cash from businesses, they’d do the right thing.

    I do not see that kind of objectivity as much as I would like.

  • bea

    I agree Kate with your logic. The media bias is our problem ( in this case and in all politics) .

    It is a little surprising that Milw J/S had said the aggressor was not Prosser (but that he was defending himself from her attack). I, too, am VERY suspicious that a supreme court judge did not immediately call the police for an investigation, and why a supreme court judge would wait for 2 weeks before leveling accusations (and only doing so when “corrupt reporting” began!) ?? Sorry to say, as soon as I heard the “allegations” on tv news I knew it had something to do with Prosser — even before they gave the actual names ! And even more regrettable and scarey ? Our elected state supreme judges take their personal views into account when ruling over our state laws (rather than deciding if the laws were broken)… then when she/ he don’t get the end result they want, they resort to physical tactics?

    I agree…

    if Judge Bradley is found to have been the aggressor then she should be disciplined for her LIES against Prosser ( but not her attack…it too was Prosser’s responsibility to report her physical attack to police … perhaps had he done so at that time, then none of this would be occuring) .

  • SJB

    Supposedly justice Bradley understands and is capable of interpreting the law.

    That is why there have been no charges filed.

    This is yet another pathetic attempt by the left to damage a duly elected official.

    If they can’t beat him at the polls they’ll slander him.

    How utterly childish.

  • Lynnda

    Exactly. The left is mad that they lost the election. They’re mad that they lost the recount. Now they will stop at nothing to personally attempt to destroy Judge Prosser’s name. This is as low as it gets. And these people are on the “Supreme” court? Sounds more like Mob Wives to me.