"Rule Number One about the Wisconsin Supreme Court — never talk about the Wisconsin Supreme Court."

Esquire magazine political blogger Charles Pierce wryly paraphrased a line from the movie "Fight Club" in detailing the latest salvo in the ongoing dysfunction among the state's top justices. The court is drawing national media attention again — and not in a good way.

As Steve Elbow reported in the Capital Times Wednesday, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley recused herself from taking part in an ongoing ethics investigation of fellow Justice David Prosser. The investigation, which currently lacks a majority to proceed because of other justices recusing themselves, stems from a June 2011 incident in which Prosser allegedly put his hands around Bradley's neck in a threatening manner.

But Bradley's recusal came as part of a blistering letter to the Judicial Commission saying that Prosser's behavior had become a workplace safety hazard even before the incident. Bradley wrote that, on the advice of law enforcement personnel, she and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson had taken to locking their office doors while working nights and weekends, and still do.

Pierce also noted that Bradley's bombshell has put Justice Patience Roggensack, a fellow conservative on the court with Prosser, in an uncomfortable position less than a week before her Feb. 19 primary election.

"The incident, and the investigation that followed, have roiled up the politics of the court itself," Pierce wrote Thursday. "(And can I stop right here and say for the 20,000th time what a terrible idea an elected judiciary is?)"

Pierce also noted that the June 2011 incident came the night before the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the Act 10 law stripping most public-sector unions of most of their collective bargaining rights. He also pointed out that Roggensack and two other conservative judges had left the court without a majority to rule on Prosser's alleged ethics violations.

"This towering act of political courage is what left Bradley no alternative than the course she is presently pursuing, as Wisconsin's ascendant conservatives put their hands around the neck of what used to be the Wisconsin Idea," Pierce wrote.

Over at Talking Points Memo, reporter Eric Lach covered Bradley's revelations in an article entitled "Justice Details 'History of Abusive Behavior' at Wisconsin Supreme Court."

TPM Editor Josh Marshall tweeted the story out late Wednesday with the comment: "amazing story. man terrorizes women in workplace. victims and victimizer each members of Wisconsin supreme court."

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(16) comments


Many stalwart defenders of democracy passionately call for our continuing to elect justices. But, the voters were too stupid to discern ethical shortcomings and political affiliation of Gabelman and Zeigler. And, they'll be too stupid to give Roggensack the retirement she deserves.


If I hear the term 'stripping' public sector workers of their rights one more time, its gonna get ugly.

Could you possibly try and play on people's emotions anymore? Could you be any more obvious about ur partisan viewpoint?


Sounds like you hate FACTS, more-so when they are repeated!


What timing liberal rags CT and Esquire have! This is just another campaign ad for Fast Eddie, the guy with zero experience on the bench. Maybe someday he could get a job as municipal court judge, fixing traffic tickets. Has Walsh-Bradley had a psychiatric exam yet?


Wisconsin : the laughing stock of the nation. With morons like Johnson and Prosser in the news Walker looks positively magisterial


You forgot Walker and Ryan.


Believe it is time to replace the whole damn bunch. Best way to start is to vote Tuesday for either of the candidates not on the Court.

Comment deleted.

Which would probably explain your reading it.


Remember when we used to laff at Louisiana?


Choker Napoleon is unfit for any court. How disgusting that his three of his colleagues continue to protect him. I wonder how how they would feel if this happened to a daughter of theirs? A friend of theirs? It is why abusive people like this continue to abuse.


How repulsive, that the CT continues this childish behavior. SHAME!
Bradley needs to be recalled, she is a disgrace. How could anyone believe this woman has the mental capability to make decisions in the courtroom.


lynne, what exactly did the CT do here that was wrong? They reported on an ongoing story- that's the job of a newspaper.

What exactly did the article misrepresent, in your view?


You are right (far right)! How dare Justice Bradley allow her neck to get in the way of Prosser's choke hold.


Bradley should have kept her arse in her chair, behind the desk. She needs a mental evaluation.


Great defense Lynne, blame the victim.


Lynne I hope you are not a female and I hope you do not have any daughters because if you do and they happen to be abuse ever your attitude with make sure their abuser receives no punishment and when your daughter comes forward after an extended perod of time to finally deal with the abuse you will have nothing to say except to call her delayed actions "childish" and tell her "she needs a mental evaluation" hope you never deal with that...........

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