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Monday, June 27, 2011

Gov. Walker's staff play "blame the victim" in defense of Prosser's chokehold on Justice Bradley; Prosser voted to lift TRO that held the Wisconsin budget to be unconstitutional

Budget - Prosser - Let the Spin Begin

by Paul I. Tascoupe, PolitiScoop, June 26, 2011
Blame The Victim

Green Bay Wisconsin -- Yesterday Scott Walker signed the highly contested  Budget Bill at Fox Valley Metal-Tech in Green Bay Wisconsin. Overshadowing today’s formalities were the recently released allegations that Supreme Court Justice Prosser choking Justice Ann Bradley with his bare hands. One could say that these are separate issues and have no bearing on each other. If you have been paying attention to recent events, however, it is clear that the two events are highly related. The Supreme Court recently made a rushed and partisan ruling (4 - 3) lifting a TRO which was blocking the publication of the Budget Repair Bill.  On that same day, Prosser is alleged to have applied a choke-hold to a female Supreme Court Justice.

Prosser is and has been an important lynch pin in the implementation of the Walker agenda. Had Kloppenburg been seated on the Supreme Court instead of Prosser, the TRO may still be in effect today. Scott Walker has a lot invested in Justice Prosser and has supported him during the Supreme Court election and the recounts, going as far as to hire a high priced attorney to look after Prosser's interests. During todays’ signing formalities I was less interested in listening to the absurd but predictable Walker rhetoric ("we value education" . . . teachers and school boards love us . . . we have created thousand of jobs . . . Wisconsin is open for business . . . blah blah blah . . . ad nausea) than I was in gauging the level of importance the Walker posse placed upon the allegations made against Prosser.

As journalists set up cameras and did sound checks on the media risers inside the Fox Valley Metal-tech facility just before 1 pm, a few of us began talking about related news events. There were snickers and quips about the sudden change of venue and about the reasons for the last minute relocation. To my surprise, many of the local "journalists" were unaware of the allegations made against Justice Prosser. They asked the politiscoop team about when the story released and by whom. Is it possible that mainstream media was uninformed about news that had been picked up the day before by bloggers and citizen journalists and made viral in yesterday’s internet discussions? Could it be that Madison has so tight a reign on what information is released to main stream media that the reporters at the signing actually had missed this new development?

One of these conversations was overhead by a Walker staff member who interjected himself into the chat. The staffer downplayed the Prosser issue claiming "Oh yeah that, you know that the three witnesses are unreliable, I mean they leaked it to the media, if it was such an issue we would have heard about it before then." Again being an observer, I just nodded and thought to myself: "Wow, he is basically saying that a Supreme Court Justice has lied about being choked? Really? The highest court in Wisconsin and now we have a member of that court being accused of making things up!"

During the set-up period, I had the opportunity to speak to reporters from WFRV, WBAY, Fox 6 and TMJ4. Of these, it was only the TMJ4 team that had any knowledge of the allegations made against Prosser. For the second time my conversation (this time with a local radio reporter) was joined by another member of Walker’s staff. This staffer had a different spin on what occurred in the Justice Bradley’s Chambers. He claimed that an altercation had in fact occurred, however not in the manner that Justice Bradley described. He claimed that Justice Bradley had attacked Prosser and that Prosser had merely put his hands out in self-defense. He also claimed that other Justices who witnessed the event were ready to back up Prosser on the issue.

Wait, isn’t there a judicial oversight board that is looking into this matter? If so, why is the Governor’s staff speaking out about it. If there is information to share, why are formal statements not being made instead of using shady tactics to try to spin information to the press as though they were giving out some sort of insider information? Team Walker, it seems, are not even able to keep their talking points straight on this issue. Which is it guys? Are the witnesses unreliable liars, or are they credible witnesses that will verify an account of events that paint Prosser as a provoked victim?  I think they refer to this as the "she needed choking" defense!

It certainly looks like Walker’s team was engaging in damage control yesterday and were using the age old tactic of “blaming the victim.” Justice Bradley, as far as I am aware, has never been in the press for proclaiming that a fellow justice is a "Total Bitch" or, in a separate event, threatened to "destroy" another female Justice. On the other hand, there are multiple accounts of Justice Prosser having such outbursts and tantrums. 

The fact that our governor is supporting Prosser against allegations made by a fellow Justice underscores the need for a federal government investigation into the entire Walker operation. Prosser’s actions demonstrate his contempt not only for his fellow Justices but for women as well. Anything less that a full, impartial, federal investigation into the allegations against Prosser is a slap to justice and to all who oppose violence, particularly violence against women.

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