Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, Governor Scott Walker’s mentor and chief ally on the state’s highest court bench, has admitted that he called the state’s chief justice a “bitch” and threatened to “destroy” her.
Prosser now stands accused of physically attacking another woman on the court, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. Bradley has confirmed reports that, as the court was debating a Prosser’s push to get the high court to defend Walker’s anti-labor agenda, Prosser attacked her, grabbed her around the neck and put her in a chokehold.
Prosser has issued a vague statement suggesting that charges against him will be proven false when an investigation of the incident is completed.
No other member of the court has spoken on the record about what happened, although several justices were present when Prosser entered Bradley’s office, refused to leave and then allegedly attacked her.
Unfortunately, Walker’s media echo chamber has had some success in spinning bizarre claims that Prosser was either provoked—as he claimed was the case when he spewed obscenities at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and then threatened to destroy her—or that he was attacked by Bradley. Neutral players, such as former Justice Janine Geske, who was appointed to the high court by former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, have come to Bradley’s defense.
But still the spin continues, and it has even been picked up by mainstream media outlets that have begun to play the game of suggesting that a woman who is attacked must somehow share the blame for her victimhood.
This crude calculus has unsettled and offended members of Wisconsin women’s rights organizations and elected officials from across the state, and on Tuesday they called for Prosser to take a leave from office until investigations—by the Dane County Sheriff’s office and the state Judicial Commission—are complete.
A veteran state representative, members of the Milwaukee and Madison school boards, county supervisors from urban and rural regions of the state and the president of the Madison City Council are among those calling for Prosser to take a step aside until the investigation is completed.