WI Supreme Court rules not to force recusals in split decision
The WI State Supreme Court is pretty fucked seriously screwed up. Their latest decision states that the justices cannot force one of their colleagues to recuse themselves from a case. So basically if their is a question of bias the justice who is potentially biased is the only one capable of making that final decision.
If a justice is accused of bias, only that justice gets to decide whether to stay on a case, the ruling says.
“A majority of this court does not have the power to disqualify a judicial peer from performing the constitutional functions of a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice on a case-by-case basis,” the majority decision said.
The ruling was written by Roggensack and Justices David Prosser, Michael Gableman and Annette Ziegler. In dissent were Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Crooks.
Once again it is the conservative wing of the court ruling they are the ones above any rules, and they are the ones who interpret the rules. Even in cases where it is their own conduct and interpretation of those rules that is in question.
“Justice Roggensack fails to respect a bedrock principle of law that predates the American justice system by more than a century – ‘no man is allowed to be a judge of his own cause,’ ” the dissent said.
The dissenters wrote that they believe the court has the power to remove a justice from a case but did not say whether the court should have pushed Roggensack off the case entirely. Their opinion focused on the reasons they believed Roggensack should not have had a say in deciding whether she could remain on the case.
The majority opinion said Roggensack’s participation in that matter was appropriate.
“Our decision on whether the court has the power to disqualify a judicial peer on a case-by-case basis does not affect one particular justice more than any other justice,” Roggensack and the others wrote. “By participating in this decision, no justice is sitting as a judge of his or her own cause. Rather, each justice, whether part of the majority opinion or writing in dissent, participated in deciding this question. Full participation is appropriate because the resolution of this question affects the court as an institution, for which each justice has an equal role in judicial decision making, and it affects the function of each justice as an independent constitutional officer.”
The dissenters disputed that argument, noting that only Roggensack’s conduct was questioned by Henley.
“Justice Roggensack joins three colleagues . . . to make four to rule on the motion to disqualify Justice Roggensack. Thus Justice Roggensack participates in a matter reviewing her own conduct.
“That Justice Roggensack participates in this motion for reconsideration is not a due process or ethical calculation but a mathematical one: one vote plus three votes equals an attempt to achieve a majority.”