Political interests keep grasping for judicial control.
Those whose values in good government include an ethical, fair and independent judicial branch as a check on politicians should tell the governor and legislators to remove a provision in the Wisconsin budget prepared by the Walker administration.
For the second time the governor is trying to kill the independence of Wisconsin’s Judicial Commission and place it under the direct control of Supreme Court justices.
The commission is where complaints against judges go, including any complaints against justices of the Supreme Court. The commission handles about 500 complaints annually. It can reprimand or seek disciplinary action against judges if it finds misconduct. In recent years the commission has found evidence of misconduct by Supreme Court justices themselves — once when Justice Annette Ziegler was found to have a conflict of interest in a particular case, and again when Justice David Prosser put his hands around the neck of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley during a dispute. Maybe that explains the effort to grab control of the Commission…
So here we are again, with another proposal buried in the governor’s budget to undercut the independence of the Judicial Commission and place it on a leash held by Supreme Court justices increasingly elected in thinly-veiled partisan fashion.
Yet another way, in our view, modern politicians and their well-heeled benefactors are trying to extend partisan control over all branches of government to weaken constitutional checks and balances.