May 13, 2012
Browsing On A Sunday: The Wisconsin Supreme Court is an Unhappy Place, Trading Google for Bing, and the Downfall of Big Law
Things are getting ugly at the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Wisconsin Judicial Commission found probable cause awhile back that Justice David T. Prosser violated sections of the Judicial Code of Conduct and recommended a hearing on the matter. Bloomberg Business Week is reporting that the Court declined to reappoint John R. Dawson, the head of the Commission, to a new term. Such reappointments have been routine in the past.
The Court’s administrative decision did not come without a bit of public sniping by its members. Gannett’s The Northwestern goes into a bit more detail, describing “threats” from Justice Shirley Abrahamson to make conservatives justices pay if they didn’t reappoint Dawson. She disclosed a letter she sent to Dawson, signed by two other justices, which said the decision was over their objections. She further stated "The court's long-standing practice has been to retain appointees for the entire period for which they are eligible if they have served the public well. In your case, the court is deviating from its practice." Ouch.
The nominating committee for the Commission had asked that Dawson be reappointed. Justice Prosser is quoted in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel as saying the nominating committee "tended to be very receptive to more liberal appointees." I’m sure Justice Prosser would tell you that decisions by the Court are based on the law rather than driven by a political interpretation of the law. I’m sure anyone listening would believe him as well, especially after reading the rest of his comments on the “lefty bias” of the nominating committee in the Journal-Sentinel report. I’m sure.
Farhad Manjoo describes his week with Bing in a Slate article. Manjoo is a self-proclaimed Googler who thought he’d try out the competition. He likes Bing for the simpler look on the results page, sort of like how Google appeared before integrating Google+ items into its results. Oh yeah? Just wait until Bing throws up everything Facebook has to offer and see how clean the display will look. His bottom line is that he’s switching back because Google found relevant results that Bing missed. More pointedly, by switching to Bing he realized how dependent he was on Gmail, YouTube, Scholar, and other Google services. To each their own.
Finally, the Washington Post has a short analysis on the downfall of big law, epitomized by the collapse of firms Howrey and Dewey & Le Boeuf. The fact that both firms went on massive expansions was not the cause alone. It was that they expanded so fast without regard to the sustainability of that expansion in light of the recession where legal work dried up. According to the article, employees have been told that the firm will shut down imminently. I wonder how many of the affected attorneys still have outstanding student loans? [MG]
Your first few paragraphs are reminiscent of a standard liberal SCOTUS trope. Times have changed, we have 5 votes, we are in the 21st Century so old decisions must be overturned and our laws are brought up to date. We want fairness, diversity, equality by our definitions.
New appointees to SCOTUS? You have 5 votes. Wait just a second. We demand stare decisis. Can't change previous decisions. Don't do anything rash.
And you are genuinely outraged when the right does exactly what the left has been doing for 50 years?
Posted by: Libertarian1 | May 14, 2012 11:10:33 AM