Friday, October 30, 2009

Best State Supreme Court Money Can Buy (Again)

Seems to me I’ve written this story before. Several times. Just a couple weeks ago, in a story titled “Dueling Justice(s)”, I wrote about the unprecedented dueling news conferences two factions of our state Supreme Court held. That was all about whether or not Justice Gableman should sit in judgment on criminal cases. He made it clear in his campaign he’s seldom met an accused person he thinks is innocent.

Then there was the similar story I wrote before that, about Gableman’s campaign, and how it was bought and paid for by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. And the story I wrote before that one, about Justice Ziegler’s campaign being paid for by the same outfit.

And just a few weeks ago there was the story I wrote about how the “gang of four” on the highest court decided to make it easier than ever before for Wisconsin businesses to enforce no-compete clauses in employee contracts. Another victory for big business.

Now, the gang of four (Justices Prosser, Roggensack, Gableman, and Ziegler) have voted this week (it was a 4-3 vote again) to allow themselves to hear cases involving their biggest campaign contributors.

The new rules may as well have been written by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and the Wisconsin Realtors Association. These two powerful business groups proposed the additions to the judicial code, and the two justices they paid to put on the bench came through for them again.

Evidence, as if more were needed, that the four million bucks Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce spent - give or take - to put Ziegler and Gableman on the highest court, was money well-spent.

The other three members of the state Supreme Court, Justice Bradley, Justice Crooks, and Chief Justice Abrahamson, were supporters of a different set of rules, proposed by retired Justice Bill Bablitch and the League of Women Voters, which would have required them to step aside in cases involving people or companies that were major contributors to their campaign.

Oh, I forgot….the United States Supreme Court still can’t seem to figure out if corporations are the same as people.

OK, that was snarky.

But I’m not being snarky when I point out that Justice Ziegler’s ethics are questionable, since she’s already run afoul of ethics rules for sitting in judgment on cases involving her multi-millionaire husband’s bank. And Justice Gableman is up on ethics charges right now, for all that horrid crap his campaign ads said about former Justice Louis Butler.

It’s enough to make you think John Grisham’s novel “The Appeal” is a true story, based on events surrounding the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

It’s looking (and acting) again like the best state Supreme Court money can buy


  1. Maybe the justices should start wearing sponsor logos on their robes, like NASCAR drivers.

  2. So.........Shirley's major contributors are a whole LOT of Wisconsin lawyers.

    Should Shirley recuse from any case argued by a Wisconsin lawyer?

    You seem to have determined that Justices will rule based on influences. That's more than a little insulting. I do not think that Abraham'n rules based on influences; she makes her rulings (wrong as they are) based on her reading of the Wisconsin Constitution and applicable case law.

    She has even decided that the Wisconsin Constitution will provide different protections than the US Constitution, even when the wording is near-duplicative. That may be wrong, but it's not "influenced" by lawyers.

    Or is it?

  3. Gut check

    Power comes from lying, lying big and getting the whole damn world to go along with you.
    Once you got everybody agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain't true, you got 'em by the balls.