Don’t call her Shirley
September 8, 2011
Leslie Nielsen saying “Don’t call me Shirley” is funny. A Justice of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court saying “Don’t call her Shirley” is creepy.
Brought to light by this summer’s investigation of Supreme Court friction is the apparent tendency of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley to get physical with colleagues she perceives as insufficiently servile toward her mentor, Chief Justice Abrahamson.
Justice Michael Gableman told investigators that in a conference a few years ago, he lightheartedly addressed the Chief Justice as “Shirley,” whereupon Justice Bradley came around the table, struck him on the head, and warned him not to call the Chief by her first name.
The Bradley contingent says this is made up, claiming the Justices didn’t meet on the day Gableman specified. Gableman told investigators he isn’t sure whether the year was 2008 or 2009 but remembers the date—September 18—because it’s his birthday. They met that day in 2009.
A week ago, we commented that if there’s one Justice on the Court who’s been fortunate to escape liability for actions toward colleagues, it looks to be Bradley, not Prosser. The Gableman statement to investigator reinforce that perception.
More troubling is the perception of a Liberal faction resorting to physical intimidation of conservative colleagues after being consigned to the minority by Wisconsin voters. Sound familiar?
The “mainstream” media will try to palm this off as evidence of a dysfunctional court unable to control its personality conflicts, a story line that might help discredit what’s now a nominally conservative majority. The reality is one of Liberal dysfunction, curable by one or two more Liberals leaving the bench.