Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Most Dangerous Gang In The State

They're devious, divided, disgusting, disorganized, duplicitous, dangerous, and deadly. They've been know to throttle each other by the throat when they disagree. They're unethical, act like they're superior, on the take, and ruthless.

I refer, of course, to our state Supreme Court.

This latest news, about Herr Goebblemann, comes as no shock. The only surprise is that it's taken this long for somebody to break the story, about how he's been on the take from a fat-cat Milwaukee law firm for years, while at the same time sitting in judgment in cases involving that same firm.

Of course, there's his compadre, Madame Gut-Check, d/b/a Justice Ziegler, who finds nothing wrong with sitting in judgment on cases involving her hubby's bank. When questioned about that, she said she did a "gut-check" to see if she could be impartial while sitting in judgment of cases involving sugar-daddy's bank, and sure enough, she saw no problems.

Some wag posted an item the other day suggesting that instead of forcing Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce to buy individual judgeships on the highest court, we should just sell naming rights to the court ("The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Supreme Court") and let the big business boys over on East Wash just pick the folks they want to serve on the court.

It could also be suggested that the bidding rights be extended to outfits like WEAC, but everybody knows they don't have any money any more, or SEIU, or name-your-lefty outfit.

This thing with Mikey-boy Goebblemann could really be a dog with fleas. How any human being with an IQ above room temperature could think it's OK to accept tens of thousands of dollars worth of legal services from a big-time right-wing bunch of Milwaukee gunslingers with JD's is fine, and then to sit in judgment on cases involving that firm....well, let's just say that it takes a special kind of snake to operate that low on the turf, while holding a position that just a few decades ago was so exalted.

Every so often, like now, I have hope (faith disappeared a long time ago) that an incident like this one with Goebblemann will cause the people of this great state to rear back and clean house on every wing of that big building with the high dome at the head of State Street - that their disgust will be of such magnitude that they'll rise up in disgust and do what's necessary to oust the whole lot of them and start over.

But then, I realize that like the situation in Washington DC, no one has faith in any of our government institutions any longer, and they don't even care that the rats are running the ship.


  1. You might want to read Esenberg's essay on the question.

    And there's another angle here, too. Foley & Lardner's lawyerzzzzzzzz (who now includes James Doyle, Esq.) make lotsa heavy-money contributions to Shirley's campaigns. In all likelihood, same kind of donations to the same person emanate from Lawton & Cates.

    What's worse? Straight-up free cash, or free labor? Cocktails at the Top of the Park, or dinner at the Athletic Club?

    Anyhow, MB didn't buy much; Gableman's decisions on their cases split 5-4 (for).

  2. “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth. ” ― William Faulkner

    This is an institutional cancer, one that eats away at the fabric of our society. The social contract has failed, and we clamor for a savior rather than clear vision to overcome misdirection and manufactured information. We elect a leadership that rewards lying and greed. We fail to make the sacrifices that will lead to a fraternal social contract. The court presents us a mirror in which we can see our degeneration and its law based on the most brutish of principal.

    “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.” ― Adolf Hitler

  3. The insidious thing about this is that courts derive their power from reasoning and impartiality: if people do not buy the reasoning, or question the impartiality, then the decision is not followed. That's the problem with Bush v. Gore and the Act 10 lawsuits -- the decisions do not have the ring of reason, they have the sense that a judge is pushing a view, creating the law rather than parsing it.

    The increasing partisanship of courts adds to the difficulties. More and more justices appear to put their personal philosophy ahead of jurisprudence as we think of it.

    The appearance of impartiality matters because otherwise, people question the justice. I used to appear before a court commissioner whose husband (a lawyer) was my wife's then-boss. That commissioner began making a speech about that connection before each hearing -- which then caused my clients to question whether she was ruling AGAINST them (when we lost) to avoid appearing to be on my side. That's the kind of questions that are raised by seemingly-innocuous issues, and it's why Gableman's lawyering is a potential problem.

    But, in Gableman's case, I question whether the legal services were really "free." I'm no fan of his, but my understanding is that he signed MB&F to a contingent fee agreement and then was unable to recover fees. That's not the same thing as "free," and Gableman didn't "win" his case in the sense of getting anything for himself or his lawyers out of it.

    So does his representation by MB&F create an actual conflict or partiality? I'm skeptical. Knowing a lawyer, liking a lawyer, or getting business from a lawyer doesn't make me want to believe their side.

    But does it give a reason for people who want to mistrust the court to mistrust the Court? Sure.

    On the other hand, what's the solution? To appoint justices? That hasn't kept the US Supreme Court from being politicized. To recuse himself from any MB&F cases? That either has no impact on the outcome (if the decision would have ended up being 5-2 or 6-1) (assuming that recusal means he doesn't debate the case and that his absence at debate doesn't alter the balance) or results in 3-3 decisions and the Court of Appeals' decision is the final outcome -- an outcome that may be unpublished and therefore uncitable, and may have been written by an (unelected, anonymous) staff attorney.

    I think a better system would be to create a larger Supreme Court -- say, 15 justices -- and assign 7 at random to each case, with the possibility of hearing a case en banc if sufficient justices vote for it. I'll explicate that more in the coming days, if I have time, but it would address many of the problems that exist now, and it's a system we kind of use with federal appellate courts.

    That's me. I solve problems. It's what I do.

  4. As I understand it, Herr Doktor Goebblemann's deal with MB&F was, inessence, "if you can't get the taxpayers to pick up the tab, we won't charge you". Call it what you want, but I call what happened "free lawyering."

  5. Briane P.,

    >> I think a better system would be to create a larger Supreme Court -- say, 15 justices -- and assign 7 at random to each case, with the possibility of hearing a case en banc if sufficient justices vote for it. <<

    That's a very interesting idea. I'm trying to visualize how court days would be organized. Cases are presented within limited time frames, right? Try one case within, say, 90 minutes, then on to the next several cases would be tried on the same day. With a random seven jurists on one particular case, I presume that the justices would go, "Shift!" after each one so that the assigned justices would be seated for the correct case. Might provide some levity to the proceedings.

    The Town Crank