By Matthew Rothschild, June 27, 2011 The Progressive
Wisconsin state supreme court justice David Prosser may find himself in legal hot water.
A fellow justice, Ann Walsh Bradley, has accused him of trying to choke her during a meeting in her office on June 13, the day before the court issued its controversial ruling validating the anti-collective-bargaining law. (Prosser sided with the majority; Bradley with the dissenters.)
“The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold,” Bradley told the Journal Sentinel.
Other sources told the Journal that she had raised her fists against Prosser, but she denied that.
“You can try to spin those facts and try to make it sound like I ran up to him and threw my neck into his hands, but that’s only spin,” she told the Journal.
(The news broke over the weekend after a terrific story by Bill Lueders of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Lueders, who was the prize-winning news editor of the newspaper Isthmus for twenty-five years, is one of the most distinguished reporters in the state.)
Prosser denied the charge but refused to elaborate on any of the specifics.
But the allegations are serious. The accuser is extremely credible. And such unwanted physical contact can lead to assault charges.
“Matters of abusive behavior in the workplace aren’t resolved by competing press releases,” Bradley told the Journal Sentinel. “I’m confident the appropriate authorities will conduct a thorough investigation of this incident involving abusive behavior in the workplace.”
Prosser has also shown misogynistic behavior that has created a hostile work environment at the highest court in Wisconsin. Last year, he called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a “total bitch,” and then suggested that she and Walsh intentionally provoke such outbursts from him.
Walsh told the Journal Sentinel in March that she has been concerned with Prosser’s “flashes of extreme anger on and off over the years.”
After he called Abrahamson a bitch, Walsh sent an e-mail to him and to the other justices saying that such behavior was unacceptable.
Prosser has more than amply demonstrated that he does not have the judicial temperament to be a justice on the Wisconsin supreme court.
He owes it to the court, to his colleagues, and to the citizens of Wisconsin to do the decent thing: resign.