The anger of one conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice boiled over last year when he called a fellow justice a “bitch” and threatened to “destroy” her, according to a published report.
Justice David Prosser reportedly made the comments to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson following a February 2010 debate over whether another justice should have been forced off criminal cases.
“In the context of this, I said, ‘You are a total bitch,'” Prosser admitted to the Mulwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel last week.
The conservative justice told the paper that he had made the comments because Abrahamson had tried to undermine and embarrass him.
“I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted,” he said. “They (Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley) are masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements. This is bullying and abuse of very, very long standing.”
Bradley allowed the paper to review emails sent between the justices after the blow up.
“In a fit of temper, you were screaming at the chief; calling her a ‘bitch,’ threatening her with ‘. . . I will destroy you’; and describing the means of destruction as a war against her ‘and it won’t be a ground war,'” one email sent from Bradley to Prosser on Feb. 18, 2010 said.
The admission that he one called the chief justice a “bitch” follows a spotted history on women’s isssues.
In 1990, while serving as a Wisconsin state Representative, Prosser argued that teen women would lie about being raped to get an abortion.
As a Supreme Court justice in 2010, he voted to uphold a circuit court decision that said the City of Milwaukee’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance did not adequately disclose that leave could be used related to domestic and sexual violence.
While District Attorney of Outagamie County in 1979, Prosser had also refused to prosecute a priest that had allegedly sexually abused two children.
“I was ready to take the stand,” Troy Merryfield, one of the abused children, told the Journal Sentinel years later. “He (Prosser) said it would be too embarrassing for a kid my age and said what jury would believe a kid testifying against a priest?”
The conservative Prosser is facing Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg in a re-election battle which could change the makeup of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The Kloppenburg campaign attacked Prosser after his spokesman admitted the justice would serve as a “complement” to Republican Gov. Scott Walker if re-elected.
“This race is about returning independence and impartiality to the court,” Kloppenburg wrote in an op-ed for Madison.com. “It’s about electing justices who haven’t prejudged cases and who see the judiciary as a co-equal branch of government and a check and balance against overreaching by the executive and legislative branches, not as a ‘complement’ to their political agenda.”