Wisconsin’s Supreme Court justices are sharply split — not just on when they should not take part in a given case, but even over whether the court has the authority to make such calls.
In late 2006, a Grant County jury ordered Daniel Virnich and Jack Moores to pay a $6.5 million judgment, the largest in Wisconsin that year. The lawsuit brought by receiver Michael Polsky had accused the two men of plundering a stereo components company, through excessive payments to themselves. The company had gone belly up, leaving its creditors — including numerous small businesses — with major losses.
Wisconsin’s Supreme Court justices divide sharply on the recusal issue. Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Patrick Crooks have sought stricter standards, while Justices David Prosser, Patience Roggensack, Annette Ziegler and Michael Gableman have voted to let judges take part in cases involving campaign supporters and against allowing a court majority to force a justice’s removal.
Wisconsin has a loose and secretive system for determining when judges and justices should recuse themselves though most other states have clearer, more objective recusal standards. The issue of judicial recusal has sparked sharp disagreements among a court known for its internal discord.
After nearly two hours of often-contentious discussion, a sharply divided Wisconsin Supreme Court voted Monday to end its longstanding practice of discussing court administrative matters in open conference.
A couple of years ago, Dr. Erik Severson transferred a heart patient to a different hospital. When the man died under Severson’s care, the physician took a risk as he broke the news to the man’s son. He apologized — although he knew his words could be used against him in court. Now a Republican lawmaker, Severson has introduced a bill to let doctors do just that without fearing malpractice.
Two Wisconsin Supreme Court justices are calling for the state to consider ending direct elections of court members, citing the negative role of money in judicial campaigns.
Eighteen people with Wisconsin ties are among the donors to so-called “super PACs,” a new breed of campaign fundraising machine. But compared to Texas, New York and California, where super PACs raised upwards of $10 million, those Wisconsin donors contributed a whole lot less.
Compared to Texas, New York and California, where super PACs raised upwards of $10 million, the few Wisconsin donors contributed a whole lot less in 2011. Search our database of $93 million worth of itemized contributions from across the nation.
Spectrum Brands began its successful quest for a $4 million award from the state without revealing its identity or that it was already based in Wisconsin, public records show. Its hired consultant also suggested that the backlash over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill made his unidentified client reluctant to pick Madison — where it was, in fact, already located.
Gov. Scott Walker’s sense of mission has often brought controversy. While his supporters say his boldness will be rewarded, his critics blame him for dividing the state. Part three in a three-part series.
Gov. Scott Walker says the main reason he’s held firm on core issues is that it was right: “The objective if you get elected is to do the things you said you were going to do for voters.” Part two of a three-part series.