Sunday, March 20, 2011

Supreme Dysfunction

Captain Shirley
A well known fact came to mainstream light today when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "broke" the story of a divided Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Not only has the Supreme Court been at odds between themselves, they have been downright mean and vicious toward one another.

Now when a sports team is dysfunctional, when the locker room is tense and there is no hope for improvement the team makes a management change.  That's right the manager takes the bullet, gets the blame and finds themselves looking for new employment.

I would suspect that if the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court wanted, she could take this divided court and heal it.  Now that would take some true leadership and some personal sacrifice. I wonder if Shirley Abrahamson has the intestinal fortitude to make that commitment to the people of the State of Wisconsin.

This recent scrum is not the first under Abrahamson. Here's a bit of what's gone on in the past courtesy of Milwaukee Magazine's 2005 Under Fire feature,  
In years past, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has been dogged with tales of infighting and division, mostly centered around Abrahamson. In 1987, The Milwaukee Journal exposed these problems in a series entitled “Discord in the Court.” Former staffers and attorneys described a court that was rife with internal conflict and barely functional. “They claw at each other,” said one former clerk. “They are more preoccupied with one another than the law.” Even one justice anonymously dumped on Abrahamson: “In conference, she does nothing but give us the finger. She piddles all over our opinions in her dissents.” Such squabbling was blamed for low court productivity and for opinions written primarily as “reactions to other justices.” (Of the seven justices on board at this time, only Abrahamson remains.)
Maybe it's time Captain Abrahamson takes serious her role as Chief Justice and bring some semblance of order and respectability to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

No comments: