Well you know I had to report on this one.
The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel posted a story about Wisconsin Justice Prosser, who has been charged with violating his ethical rules during an incident that occurred where a number of other Supreme Court Justices were in the room. Story here.
Justice Prosser is seeking the recusal of all justices who are witnesses, even before the Wisconsin Supreme Court appoints a panel to hear his case. Apparently Prosser is steering the case toward an outcome that will prevent a case against him to be litigated, either at this appointal phase, or after the panel is done and there would be insufficient justices to convene to decide discipline. It’s not clear what will happen, and I don’t know enough about that Court’s specific rules to comment on the process. But this can’t be the first time the Wisconsin Supreme Court has had a number of justice who needed to recuse. It seems there must be a way to appoint stand-ins for the justices, for either phase, or some other cure so the case can go forward.
An interesting comment by the Journal Sentinel is that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has had “bitter” disputes over the issue of recusal of justices. The story commented,
“Prosser was in a 4-3 majority last year that found justices cannot kick each other off cases. Now, Prosser is arguing recusal is necessary for his colleagues in his case.”
I have not followed the Wisconsin Supreme Court closely enough to be able to comment on the comment. But it does bring to mind commentary I made when I first posted about this Prosser ethics case. It is interesting to watch as judges are charged. My point is that perhaps judges will feel differently about justice-system issues when they are in the trenches as a litigant in a case.