Conservative Wisconsin Justices Rig Ethics Panel

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is currently the target of a ethics probe into an incident where he allegedly grabbed a fellow justice by the neck during an argument in her chambers. Yet, despite the seriousness of these allegations, Prosser and his conservative allies on the court have bent over backwards to prevent this probe from moving forward. Prosser convinced his three fellow conservatives on the court to recuse themselves from the probe, a move that effectively prevents any meaningful action against Prosser. And they removed an ethics official last May who supported the probe into Prosser.

This official’s replacement has now been announced, and he appears hand chosen to ensure that Prosser does not have to worry about any inconvenient probes into his ethical fitness for the job:

State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser and three other justices have appointed a retired attorney to the Wisconsin Judicial Commission who has said the ethics case against Prosser is unfair.

The court voted 4-3 to appoint Frank J. Daily to the commission last month, at a time when the case against Prosser faces major hurdles.

In a May letter to the editor printed in the Journal Sentinel, Daily said the proceeding against Prosser was “unfairly directed” at him and suggested it should be ended. His letter also took issue with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who has often clashed with Prosser; Daily called the chief justice “vindictive” and said she was responsible for the decline of the court’s reputation.

Wisconsin’s conservative justices have a history of protecting their own against ethics complaints. A complaint against conservative Justice Michael Gabelman for running a misleading campaign ad was shut down after the court split on party lines in Gabelman’s favor.