As Barbara Bush once said of Geraldine Ferraro, rhymes with "rich."
Is Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a bitch? Dave Prosser may be only the latest to notice.
About a year ago, State Supreme Court Justice Prosser lost his temper behind closed doors and called the chief justice a "bitch" and threatened to "destroy" her.
Problems got so bad that justices on both sides described the court as dysfunctional, and Prosser and others suggested bringing in a third party for help, emails show, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. This is being used by hyper partisans to "prove" that Justice Prosser, after 13 years on the bench and 17 years in the State Legislature, is unfit for the court.
But David Prosser is only the latest one to take issue with the chief justice's lack of interpersonal skills. So does Justice Patience Roggensack. Back in February 2010, when this all went down, Justice Patience (another great name) e-mailed colleague Ann Walsh Bradley, a devoted Abrahamson ally:
"You are a very active participant in the dysfunctional way we carry-on. (As am I.) You often goad other justices by pushing and pushing in conference in a way that is simply rude and completely nonproductive. That is what happened when David lost his cool. He is not a man who attacks others without provocation."
Twelve years ago, the court had a different make-up but Shirley Abrahamson was still the problem. Back in 1999, four justices tried to curb Abrahamson's power. They included Bill Bablitch, recently deceased, Patrick Crooks, Don Steinmetz, and Jon Wilcox. Bablitch, a former Democratic state senator, complained that Abrahamson, even then the chief justice, never let the court know what she was up to.
That has not changed in the interim. Journalist Mike Nichols wrote about the discord in the July 2010 Wisconsin Interest magazine:
A "good deal" of the responsibility for the acrimony, says the man who was a Democratic Senate Majority leader before he joined the court, "goes to her."
Let's go back further: Way back in the mid-1980s, the Milwaukee Journal quoted an unnamed justice as saying Abrahamson gave colleagues the finger in conference and ridiculed their opinions in her dissents. Long before Abrahamson was trading barbs with Prosser and Roggensack, she was locked in a public battle with Justice Roland B. Day. There has been consistent criticism of her management style, Nichols reported.
One lawyer who has worked in the court calls her style "toxic" and compared dealing with her to chewing tinfoil. In short, Abrahamson may be brilliant, but her critics say she doesn't countenance other perspectives or much care about consensus or conciliation.
Follow the money
There may be some liberals whom Judge MaryAnn Sumi's husband has not donated but that number decreases by the day. I have already reported that liberal Madison attorney Carl Sinderbrand has donated big money to Walker opponent Tom Barrett in the last election. It also happens that he has bankrolled three of the fleebagging state senate Democrats -- Robert Wirch of Kenosha, David Hanson of Green Bay, and James Holperin of the North Woods. Now it transpires that he has contributed to JoAnne Kloppenburg, Prosser's opponent. Big Government reports:
Kloppenburg said during a debate with incumbent David Prosser this week that "she also wouldn't need to recuse herself from any cases on the collective bargaining bill because she has remained independent during the protests in Madison."
However, the donation from Sumi's husband raises serious questions as to whether Kloppenburg, if victorious, could even hear the state Attorney General's challenge to Sumi's ruling, which could eventually reach the state Supreme Court.
Add to that an endorsement Kloppenburg trumpets from the most radical of the fleebaggers, newly elected Chris Larson.
Now even Tim Cullen, one of those who fled, acknowledges that such a move will ultimately destroy the senate. Did the Siege of the State Capitol change Wisconsin? We'll find out but not if Governor Walker's e-mails are any indication. (55% favor his bill and 42% oppose, counting only in-state correspondence.)
That is what democracy looks like!
Let's face it, the Left has long mastered the art of the protest march. But the Right votes and the Left overplayed its hand.
Jesse Jackson? Michael Moore? The International Socialist Party? Intimidation? Marty Beil? John Matthews? The Teaching Assistants Association? John Nichols' megaphone? The Teamsters? Death threats? Madison lefties? Property destruction? Sweetheart contracts in exchange for union campaign cash? All for benefits and job security that few in the private sector enjoy? A target-rich environment.
Eileen Bruskewitz asks a good question
The conservative standard-bearer running for Dane County executive is challenging Democrat Joe Parisi to say "Stop the boycotts."
Now, Eileen tells me, boycotters are targeting Mariner's Inn "trying to make life difficult for the Von Rutenbergs," long-time restaurateurs in these parts who, having a couple of their restaurants in Eileen's district, have supported her past campaigns.
"The Von Rutenbergs … are generous and good folks who have the same rights as everybody else in this country to participate in our political process. The boycotts are not only divisive but wrong.
"You know what, if Joe Parisi really wants to bring this community together, as he has claimed, he will speak out against this personal attacks not only on the Von Rutenbergs and others but on our political process in general. Say 'Stop the boycotts,' Joe!"
Eileen Bruskewitz has demonstrated her courage, now it's time for Joe Parisi to quit playing to the galleries and show some statesmanship.
Hey kids! Catch my act this Friday on the Up Front Show with Brian Schimming, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on 1310 AM.
And write in Thuy Pham-Remmele for Mayor of Madison!