Sunday, October 5, 2014

WI Supreme Court's ethical dilemma in sharper focus

Props to The Wisconsin State Journal's Dee Hall for making the scope and depth of the State Supreme Court's self-inflicted ethical bind a high-visibility news story.

I have blogged about the jaw-dropping step into discredit the Court is likely to take if when it agrees to rule on whether the John Doe probe into Scott Walker's relationship with major conservative corporate funders can continue - - a move by a Court with a majority whose election campaigns took millions of dollars from some of those very same groups.

The same Court which had also let some of those very same groups write a no-fault code of conduct for the justices that governs when they needed to step aside from a case in the face of ethical conflicts posed by outside contributors.

The answer to "when" is pretty much never.

So the fox is not just in the chicken coop: the fox was allowed in, bought the place, has the keys and can come and go as it pleases.

It's as if Alex Rodriguez, caught doping, would have his final appeal to be allowed to continue to play heard by attorneys making up a majority of a panel he helped get hired to sit on the decision-making panel.

You read these things about politics and law in Wisconsin, and you say, 'this can't be happening...the ethical conflicts are too obvious...this has to be a joke or satire...,' but indeed it is happening, and to make things worse, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board, after having twice endorsed Walker for Governor, doesn't think the justices whose campaign committees had taken these huge donations need to step aside.

It's one thing to have self-interested clients and the politicians who serve them undermine the credibility of crucial institutions, but it's another when major watchdogs agree to look the other way.


Anonymous said...

I can't wrap my head around how all those in Walker's camp and perhaps many ordinary citizens do not find this to be unconscionable that the majority makeup of the state Supreme Court has received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the very groups that are being investigated for campaign law violations. How is it possible for justice to be blind when 4 of the 7 judges have profited by the actions of these groups. It is possible because in Walker's Wisconsin they just change the rules when they know they can't win. This is absolutely shameful and for the Journal Sentinel to support this is to admit that they have printed the outcome knowing full well how things work in Wisconsin under their man Walker!

Gareth said...

This is all part of process of normalizing corruption and introducing a more strict class system, first-class citizens being those who are able to pay for legislation and 'justice', while second-class citizens can only hope for the best and must accept what they receive. Third-class citizens have no hope at all.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

That's well-said Gareth. It's the white-collar version of "defining deviancy down". And is a major advantage to GOPs in states where they run the show, like in Wisconsin for now.

Don't like that reality? Then change who's in charge