New Kid's View

Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.

Prosser's Problem

Wisconsin Supreme Court, David Prosser, JoAnne Kloppenburg, Shirley Abrahamson, election, April 5

Have you ever been in a professional setting that became so vitriolic that one person called another a derogatory name or in which one person threatened to damage to another person's career? I mean to their face?

I haven't. And believe me, during my 12 years with the largest trial court of general jurisdiction in the world and eight years of media-relations consulting, I encountered plenty of humongous egos and highly charged and conflicting agendas.

That's one of the things that bothers me about David Prosser, who wants to keep his seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He has a problem with the Court's Chief Justice. He thinks she's pushy and domineering and lines up allies to take sides against him. OK, we probably have all known and perhaps even worked with people like that.

But did you lose control of yourself to the point that you called a co-worker or colleage a "b****"? In front of her and your peers? Or did you threaten to "destroy" them? Most likely not.

Yet Prosser's self control and/or anger management is so poor that that's what he did when he felt Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson had "goaded" him during their meetings with their fellow Supreme Court justices.

What concerns me about Prosser is that such outbursts not only are unprofessional, they are inconsistent with "judicial demeanor," civility and just plain common decency, and they reflect so negatively on the Court.

Division and rancor among the justices have come increasingly to light in recent years, seemingly in direct proportion to the obscene amounts of money--particularly outside special interest money--that's been spent on justice elections, especially in the past five years.

Prosser, as a justice during that time, has been a part of the conflict and discord. Yet, in his campaign appearances during the past several weeks, he says he will "bring the Court together" and work for a more collegial atmosphere.

That begs the question, so why haven't you done so already? What will be different if you are re-elected that will enable or incentivize you to behave any differently than you have in all the time you've already been on the court? All of the players will be the same. So will the personalities, egos and ideologies.

Electing Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg on Tuesday, April 5, provides an opportunity to change the Court make up and get rid of at least part of the problem that's causing the discord and vitriole. 

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