Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Update

In the contentious Wisconsin election for Supreme Court Justice, the challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg has declared victory although she reportedly has a margin of approximately 200 votes. {UPDATE: vote count reversed and fluctuating}.

The incumbent,  David Prosser, currently a member of the state supreme court, has not conceded. 

The election is widely viewed as an example of the politicization of judicial elections.  WISCONSIN COURT In Wisconsin, the political issues revolve around Governor Walker’s proposal the elimination collective bargaining for public employees; an issue that is in litigation that could reach the state supreme court.  The Wisconsin election could be compared to the recent Iowa election which was seen as a referendum on same-sex marriage; the nomination process after that election resulted in an all-white all-male state supreme court.

Additionally, however, Prosser’s personal judicial temperament was a campaign issue.  Prosser reportedly called one of his fellow justices, a woman, a sexist slur.  In an interview with FoxNews, Prosser admited regret engaging in the name-calling, but says it was not all his fault and there was "some provocation."   A brief report with video clip is here; a longer video also discussing other issues is here.

The seemingly inevitable recount could result in litigation before the state supreme court.  However, the first step would be a trial.  And, according to the latest report from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

In one twist, state law calls for Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson to appoint the state judge who would hear the case if the loser of a recount in a statewide election goes to court over the outcome. Abrahamson and Prosser have clashed on the court. Prosser's private remark calling Abrahamson a "total bitch" was the subject of a recent political ad attacking Prosser.



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