Breach of trust
March 22, 2012
It was bad enough that four members of the UW Board of Regents signed the Walker recall petitions. Then we learned 29 circuit court judges did likewise.
Nobody’s required to like Scott Walker. But these people are entrusted with serious public responsibilities and should exhibit something better than base ignorance. Their positions demand what an old teacher of ours called “a sense of the fitness of things.”
These judges and regents who apply our state’s laws and guide its leading educational institutions dislike policies resulting from the informed choice of a majority of voters, and have joined a minority seeking to overturn lawful elections. If that’s consistent with “a sense of the fitness of things,” lock your doors.
Sadly, the week brought other examples of institutions of civil society wallowing in the toxic swamp of anything-goes politics. The state Judicial Commission, evidently intent on purging Justice David Prosser from the Supreme Court, urged he be punished for the notorious “choke-hold” confrontation with Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.
Bradley’s flimsy story collapsed last summer and a special prosecutor dropped the matter. But Milwaukee attorney Franklyn Gimble, investigating for the Judicial Commission, wants another shot.
We guessed the Associated Press reporter who wrote the story might have forgotten something and whaddya know? We needed five minutes to discover Mr. Gimble is a recall petitioner and campaign contributor who, between 2008 and 2010, gave more than $5,000 to Liberals including Tom Barrett, Jim Doyle, and, SHAZAM! Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who mentored Prosser’s 2011 re-election opponent.
The eight-member Judicial Commission itself included two recall petitioners, five contributors to Liberal candidates including Justices Bradley and Abrahamson and one member whose term actually expired two years before the Prosser/Bradley incident. Good luck, Justice Prosser.
Clearly, prevailing in the recall elections is only one step toward reclaiming Wisconsin’s civil institutions from those who use them as political blunt instruments.