No. This is not snark. It's being reported by Wisconsin Public Radio and other sources.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck in an argument in her chambers last week, according to several knowledgeable sources.
And what was the case they were discussing? Why, the so-called "budget repair bill" that revokes collective bargaining, sells off state assets, etc. etc. ...
Details of the incident, investigated jointly by Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, remain sketchy. The sources spoke on the condition that they not be named.
They say an argument that occurred before the court’s release of a decision upholding a bill to curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employees culminated in a physical altercation in the presence of other justices. Bradley purportedly asked Prosser to leave her office, whereupon Prosser grabbed Bradley by the neck with both hands.
Justice Prosser, contacted Friday afternoon by the Center, declined comment: “I have nothing to say about it.” He repeated this statement after the particulars of the story — including the allegation that there was physical contact between him and Bradley — were described. He did not confirm or deny any part of the reconstructed account.
Bradley also declined comment, telling WPR, “I have nothing to say.”
The sources say Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs was notified of the incident. One source says Tubbs came in to meet with the entire Supreme Court about this matter. Tubbs, contacted by Wisconsin Public Radio, declined to comment.
Sources also say the matter was called to the attention of the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, which investigates allegations of misconduct involving judges. James Alexander, executive director of the commission, said Friday that “we can neither confirm nor deny” that the incident was under investigation. “The commission hasn’t given me any authority to make any confirmation.”
Unfortunately the Wisconsin Judicial Commission reports to - you guessed it - the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for impeachment.
We have gotten to this? We have gotten to the point where judicial decisions are decided by physical violence?
UPDATE - Thanks to all for feedback. As many have suggested, the silence of the parties seems to indicate that this is under active investigation. Thanks to litho for pointing out that this could be a Class H felony in Wisconsin, which I believe would result in Prosser's expulsion from the court.
As this would be a criminal case, it would not be Justice Bradley who would file charges, but Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne. Yeah, that guy. (Edit - he's the DA who argued before Judge Sumi and the WI SC that the "budget repair bill" should be invalidated because of the legislature's failure to follow the state's open meeting law.)
Hey, a cheesehead can dream, can't he?
10:13 AM PT: Update #2 - This is now the lead article on the RW Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online. Amazingly, there are some commenters who are attempting to stick up for "Justice" Prosser.
11:32 AM PT: From Thinkprogress - there is an additional way to remove a justice in Wisconsin - removal by address. (Wisconsin Constitution, Article 7 Section 13) It requires 2/3 of both houses (a higher standard than impeachment) but does not require a trial. It will be interesting to see if there is any interest in the legislature in throwing Prosser under the bus, especially with recalls coming up...
Update - hats to nancat357 - this has now gone national at the NY Times: Wisconsin Judge Said to Have Attacked Colleague
And tip to itskevin - The Journal Sentinel is changing their story and is now reporting that Prosser acted in self-defense? That Bradley charged him? Really?
Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 7:23 AM PT: litho has published a great updated diary... this one's been on the rec list for a long time (thanks!) but let's move!