WI Sup. Ct.: Former Dem Gov Abandons Prosser, Endorses Kloppenburg

This is a pretty amazing story – and not the kind of thing you want to see happen during the final weekend of your campaign:

Former Democratic Gov. Patrick Lucey is withdrawing his support for incumbent Justice David Prosser for Wisconsin Supreme Court and is throwing it to Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Lucey released a statement to the media Thursday evening saying the campaign has revealed what he called “a disturbing distemper and lack of civility” in Prosser, though he did not cite specifics.

“I have followed with increasing dismay and now alarm the campaign of Justice David Prosser, whom I endorsed at the outset of his campaign and in whose campaign I serve as the honorary co-chairman,” Lucey said in the statement. “I can no longer in good conscience lend my name and support to Justice Prosser’s candidacy. Too much has come to light that Justice Prosser has lost that most crucial of characteristics for a Supreme Court Justice-as for any judge-even-handed impartiality. Along with that failing has come a disturbing distemper and lack of civility that does not bode well for the High Court in the face of demands that are sure to be placed on it in these times of great political and legal volatility.”

Lucey, age 93, served as governor of Wisconsin in the 1970s and was also the running mate of independent presidentical candidate John Anderson in 1980. Lucey may have declined to cite any examples of Prosser’s behavior, but I sure will:

  • He bellowed that a fellow justice was a “bitch” and vowed to “destroy her” – then blamed her for his outburst
  • He claimed that the same justice and another female colleague “ganged up” on him in an attempt to make him look bad
  • He confided to Republicans and right-wing allies that they could be sure how he’d rule on topics like redistricting and abortion rights – all but prejudging cases in advance

And those are just a few examples of Prosser’s lack of a proper judicial temperament. I haven’t even touched upon the fact that he promised he’d be a “complement” to Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans in the legislature, on account of the fact that his views “closely mirror” theirs. Lucey’s critique of Prosser aligns very much with the case Kloppenburg and her supporters have been presenting all along, and it helps ensure that this will be topic #1 for the campaign’s final days. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

32 thoughts on “WI Sup. Ct.: Former Dem Gov Abandons Prosser, Endorses Kloppenburg”

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    It’s a pretty effective counter ad from Prosser’s folks. I know the Kloppenburg ad on this was getting some traction. I thought this was a pretty brutal reply. It kind of reminded me of the turnaround ad that Gov Martinez ran in NM.

  2. It would be nice to see a poll before the election. All we have is a possible (stale) leak from the Republicans.  

  3. 2nd question, will any of this matter?  Does the opinion of someone who governed before approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of the electorate was even born have an impact?

    To me the idea that a Dem was supporting this guy this long is kind of odd (t o b.j.’s opening point).  Is there any other Dem support for this guy, and if so, whom?

  4. in the 1970s.

    When he was appointed ambassador to Mexico he became minorly famous for the SNL skit that said now “the dope traffic goes both ways”.

  5. …as a candidate is a big deal regardless of who that co-chair is.  If nothing else, it’s extremely embarrassing, puts you on the defensive, and gives the impression that the rats are jumping the ship.

    Why this guy supported Prosser, I don’t know.  From my contacts in WI, though, this last minute switch is classic Lucey.  He was always a troublemaker, having been the VP candidate for Anderson’s third party 1980 presidential run.

    Someone on dKos commented that Lucey was probably sitting back, drinking a scotch, and enjoying the fact that he got in one last political “win” before he passes on to the legislature in the sky.

  6. It got some blowback (this was playing for several days before being posted) because the number goes to van Hollen’s office.

  7. But Merryfield had been really harsh on Prosser as recently as a few years ago, and from what I hear, he also has a civil suit pending. So this whole thing makes no sense, and I don’t understand how someone managed to get to him.

    But none of that matters in a political campaign. Voters won’t hear all that. They’ll just see the ads. And this one is harsh. Hopefully it’s too late to make a difference.

    What’s your take?

  8. That’s funny. I mean, the ad creators don’t care about who makes calls – that’s just what they throw in to make it an “issue” ad, rather than a campaign ad. But it’s funny that they would wind up pissing off the Republican AG.

  9. …had heavy rotation in Milwaukee and Madison from what I read.  So this one, too, will have to run heavy to get noticed.

  10. …and said that the charges against him were lies.  The ad doesn’t really challenge the validity of the claims against Prosser.  It’s just a complaint about campaign tactics.

    I don’t think that its that damaging, IMO.  It’s a good defense ad, but that’s all.

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