An Open Letter to the Dane County Board of Supervisors Regarding the Smearing of David Prosser

Dear Dane County Board of Supervisors,

I have several questions regarding the letter twelve of you wrote to Justice David Prosser, in which you ask him to take a leave of absence from the Wisconsin Supreme Court until investigators determine whether or not he strangled Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

First, the Board of Supervisors is not a law enforcement body, nor does it have any role in the oversight of state government. By what principle or standard does pontificating on the incident fall under the purview of Dane County politicians?

Second, I am sure you are aware that multiple sources report that Justice Bradley was the aggressor, and that Justice Prosser merely raised his hands to defend himself. Have you written a similar letter to Justice Bradley, lecturing her on the serious of workplace violence and asking her to step aside until an investigation reveals whether or not the people of Wisconsin can trust her?

Third, Justice Bradley has publicly affirmed that Justice Prosser attacked her, but some have asked why, if she was a victim, she neither reported the incident nor publicly mentioned it until it was publicized by the media twelve days later. Have you warned her about the seriousness of a Supreme Court Justice lying to the people of Wisconsin?

Unfortunately, we already know the answers. It is clear you intended the letter to be perceived as simply a civic-minded stand for integrity in government and against violence, but in reality, it was nothing of the kind.

Aside from one token reference to Justice Prosser’s “presumption of innocence” before the law, the letter is written as if he has already been convicted. You condescendingly lecture a veteran Justice of the state’s Supreme Court about his lack of “integrity,” “temperament and morality,” recite statutes and statistics regarding violence, suggest he will destroy the people of Wisconsin’s ability to trust the state’s judicial system, and insinuate that he does not understand “that abuse of colleagues and women is never, ever acceptable.”

You do not believe a word about the presumption of innocence. You have already found Justice Prosser guilty, and wish to convict him in the court of public opinion. You seek to destroy him not because you are concerned about professional misconduct, but because the Wisconsin Left has made this independent, fair-minded jurist’s very existence into a proxy war over the state’s new collective-bargaining law, which poses a severe threat to public-sector unions’ political power. Justice Prosser’s real crime in your eyes is his refusal to abuse his power and strike down the democratically enacted law by judicial fiat.

If this partisan agenda were not the true motive for your actions, you either would not have injected yourselves into this incident at all, or you would have written a similar warning to Justice Bradley. Your outrage would not be selective.

If Justice Prosser truly is guilty, then by all means, he should be removed from office, while if investigators clear him of any wrongdoing, it goes without saying that the Dane County Board of Supervisors will owe him an apology. But no amount of apologizing will restore the public’s ability to trust in you.

With this letter, twelve of you have demonstrated your willingness to exploit an opportunity to destroy a man’s job and reputation, without regard for the facts, in pursuit of an ideological agenda. They are symptomatic of the moral rot that has plagued Wisconsin politics for far too long. You—not Justice Prosser—are why Wisconsinites have trouble trusting their government.

All who oppose character assassination, hypocrisy, dishonesty, and gutter politics have a decision to make. Because, as you say, “the public reaction to the behavior of our elected officials often establishes what is generally accepted and tolerated in our society,” I call on these twelve to resign from the Dane County Board of Supervisors, and I call on good men and women of the Board, as well as the voters of Dane County, to demand their resignation. Enough is enough.

Calvin Freiburger

* * *

Readers can contact the Dane County Board of Supervisors here to express their own thoughts about the situation.