Politics

Scott Walker’s nonpartisan doppelganger

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s government union reforms continue to roil liberals and union members. Unable to oust him for another few years, Walker’s opponents are taking aim at him via a proxy target: State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.

The union’s vendetta against Walker has resulted in the politicization of Prosser’s nonpartisan reelection to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court – which currently enjoys a conservative 4-3 majority.

Walker’s opponents are pinning their hopes on Prosser’s challenger, assistant attorney general, Joanne Kloppenburg, and framing the race as a referendum on Walker. The Greater Wisconsin Committee even has launched a “Prosser Equals Walker” campaign.

Prosser has been on the Court for over twelve years and leans conservative. Appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson in 1998 and reelected without opposition ten years ago, a race such as this normally would not see the upper half of the newspaper fold. This year however, Prosser’s reelection has created a firestorm on the left and right.

“They don’t want to vote against my record; they want to vote against Scott Walker,” Prosser told Isthmus, a Madison, Wisconsin paper about his opponents at the beginning of the month.

Conservatives have also jumped aboard the politicization bandwagon. Isthmus points out that the Wauwatosa Republicans are backing Prosser purely for political reasons.

“David Prosser is the only conservative running in the state Supreme Court race,” the Wauwatosa Republicans write on their website. “If he doesn’t win, the court will have a 4-3 liberal majority, and all of the reforms that Governor Walker is accomplishing will be challenged and judged by liberal legal activists who believe that their opinions are more powerful than the Constitution. Please don’t let that happen.”

Adding even more logs to the fire is the fact that, with litigation challenging Walker’s new collective bargaining law pending, many expect the cases to eventually come before the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.

The campaign has Rick Esenberg, president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, concerned about the implications of bringing politics into the courts.

“The problem, it seems to me, is that while we elect judges in Wisconsin and most of the Midwest, we don’t take votes on the outcome of particular cases and it is extraordinary to have a Supreme Court election turned into a referendum on a particular piece of legislation which the court is going to be asked to ruled upon,” said Esenberg. “None of the court challenges have anything to do with the substantive merits of the budget repair bill…yet the election is being turned into a referendum on Walker and the budget repair bill itself which is a threat to judicial independence.”

Wisconsinites head to the ballot box on Tuesday, April 5th. Whether Posser or Kloppenburg wins, the precedent of a politicized judicial race continues to have Esenberg on edge.

“It raises a fear in my mind about the ability of the justices to decide cases in the court of law when they are having to do this in this hothouse of a budget repair bill,” he said.

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  • jabee1

    Well, I voted for McCain and several other repugs..considering how stupid all of you seem to be, I wonder if I can ever consider a repug again. I don’t intend to vote for either Kloppenburg or Prosser. I vote only for candidates that I feel will do a creditable job in any case. You drugged repugs appear to vote only by a single criteria probably sold ypu by Faux news. Guess you never learned to research candidate’s backgrounds with any level of intelligence. If you think Prosser did a good job in the past, too bad…so if you actually live in WI and are not, as I suspect just repug trolls, go vote for him and see how far he gets. By way, Walker can be recalled January 2012 and probably he will be. Get your dates in mind so you can vote for him. I have been a member of the League of Women Voters since it began. So I have been active in politics since before you were evenn born and I know bad candidates when I see them

  • jabee1

    As a true Independant, as are most of my neighbors, I think both sides are counting their chickens and coming up with nothing but rotten eggs. Both republicans and union members represent @20% of registered voters. The rest of us hold all the cards if we go out to vote. Already many have voted early but their representation is unknown. Many of us are women voters and we don’t like what has been published about Prosser’s bad temper and fou

  • jabee1

    As an Independant woman voter, I have many reservations about both candidates. Prosser has shown himself to have not only a foul temper but in session called a female member a “bitch”. He has degraded his own reputation but that of the republican party for choosing a sexist, uncontrollable candidate. What Kloppenburg lacks in experience, Prosser lacks even more. Why should anyone faithful to the party vote for him after we have also seen Walker et al screw up publically? When is the party going to find decent candidates that can win the votes of those beyond the blind, uneducated party members? There is a 20% of voters registered republican and another 20% union. The rest of us are not in limbo. We DO control the outcome of election as long as we all vote.

    • truebearing

      The only things you are independent of is reason and honesty. Prosser called a bitch a bitch. Good for him. And while his comments aren’t ideal, Shirley Abrahamson deserves to be called that and more.

      Prosser lacks even more experience than Kloppenturd? What the hell are you babbling about? (Okay, I asked the wrong person) Prosser has been a Supreme Court justice for 12 years. Kloppenturd has NEVER been a judge and has spent her career as a lawyer attacking small businesses over where their docks are on lakes, or trying to run people out of business. She even taught a class on using environmental law to destroy small businesses.

      Kloppenturd has repeatedly tried to get judicial appointments, at least twice from former Democrat governor Jim Doyle, and twice from Obama, and was denied every time, which says a lot considering the combined corruption and leftist slant of those two.

      How exactly did Walker “screw up publicly”, pea brain? He’s trying to address a nearly 4 billion dollar deficit created by Democrat Doyle, the biggest crook in state history, and Barack Obama, the biggest crook in presidential history. Walker was too soft on the corrupt unions, and was too willing to give them considerations, and this is the result. The only thing he can be blamed for is not power slamming the restrictions on collective extortion through immediately, once the scumbag Democrat senators fled to Illinois.

      Nice try at the “I’m an independent” scam. No independent with a brain would vote for a rabid ideologue like Kloppenburg, so either you’re a moron, or a lying leftist fraud. Which is it?

    • SunnyJ

      Cut the crap…you are no more an Independent than Hilary Clinton. Your worried about Prosser using an expletive that pales in comparison to the names the lefties have called Walker and everyone that works for him. The fact that you equate the vote for the SC judge as anything at all to do with Walker, says all necessary about your commitment to the rule of law and the constitution. Any respectable libertatian or independent would look at Prossers actual record…and note that the other candidate has none to look at. Why if you are so intelligent, do you believe anything at all in those dopey attack ads…if you read the story on this, you know full well, there is a great deal more to it, that a loss of temper. There are other judges emails asking the “goading and provoking” to stop and this from highly respected members of the same court…Don’t come here with your phony fronting. You use typical lefty hypotheticals and “what ifs” instead of facts. A dead give away.