Wisconsin’s Supreme Court is highly regarded but long simmering conflicts that have recently bubbled to the surface are undermining the court’s effectiveness in the eyes of the public, in the view of two former justices and two lawyers who frequently practice in front of the high court.
Former Justices Janine Geske and Jon Wilcox, and lawyers Jim Troupis and Lester Pines, spoke before a standing room only crowd in the UW-Memorial Union in a panel discussion that was planned several weeks in advance of recent reports that surfaced about a physical confrontation between two justices.
The conflict among the justices has been simmering for years, partly because of Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson’s intransigence, said Jon Wilcox, who served on the high court from 1992-2007. Wilcox publicly backed Abrahamson’s opponent in her 1999 re-election campaign.
“That has to be fixed,” he said. “There has to be a sharing. There has to be mutual respect on that court that has not existed up there for two or three decades. … And that means real sharing, not setting yourself apart from the other justices. That’s something that has been around for the past 13-14 years.” –> Read more from wispolitics.com
Photo by SPJ Madison, left to right: SPJ Madison chapter president Mark Pitsch, attorney Jim Troupis, former justice Janine Geske, former justice John Wilcox, attorney Lester Pines.