The investigations are now proceeding in Wisconsin of the alleged incident on the Supreme Court, in which liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has accused conservative Justice David Prosser of grabbing her neck in a chokehold, during an argument. As it turns out, for one of the ongoing investigations into the problems on this very polarized and acrimonious state Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter of the controversy would be...that very Supreme Court.
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Assuming both Prosser and Bradley recused themselves, that would leave the court's now very polarized wings at 3-2 for the conservatives. But even this could be a hairy situation -- how would recusal work when multiple other justices were witnesses to the incident in question?
On Monday, the Dane County (Madison) Sheriff's Office announced that it was taking up the investigation of the alleged assault, after the case was handed over to it by the Capitol Police (who in turn consulted with the Supreme Court itself on the decision). In addition, the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, which investigates alleged misconduct involving judges, released a statement Monday that it, too, was looking into the alleged incident, and would have no further comment about the case.
To be clear, both of these investigations could potentially continue, separate from one another.
According to the commission's web site, the commission consists of "one court of appeals judge, one circuit court judge, and two attorneys, all appointed by the Supreme Court; and five non-lawyer members appointed by the governor with Senate confirmation." The commissioners are appointed to three-year terms, with a limit of two consecutive terms. The current members of the commission were appointed over a spread of the past six years.
TPM called up the commission, seeking a basic civics lesson in how the commission and its investigations work, keeping in mind that they could not comment on the specifics of this case.