Former Democratic Gov. Patrick Lucey is withdrawing his support for incumbent Justice David Prosser for Wisconsin Supreme Court and is throwing it to Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.
Lucey released a statement to the media Thursday evening saying the campaign has revealed what he called "a disturbing distemper and lack of civility" in Prosser, though he did not cite specifics.
"I have followed with increasing dismay and now alarm the campaign of Justice David Prosser, whom I endorsed at the outset of his campaign and in whose campaign I serve as the honorary co-chairman," Lucey said in the statement. "I can no longer in good conscience lend my name and support to Justice Prosser's candidacy. Too much has come to light that Justice Prosser has lost that most crucial of characteristics for a Supreme Court Justice-as for any judge-even-handed impartiality. Along with that failing has come a disturbing distemper and lack of civility that does not bode well for the High Court in the face of demands that are sure to be placed on it in these times of great political and legal volatility."
Lucey, age 93, served as governor of Wisconsin in the 1970s and was also the running mate of independent presidentical candidate John Anderson in 1980. Lucey may have declined to cite any examples of Prosser's behavior, but I sure will:
He bellowed that a fellow justice was a "bitch" and vowed to "destroy her" - then blamed her for his outburst
He claimed that the same justice and another female colleague "ganged up" on him in an attempt to make him look bad
He confided to Republicans and right-wing allies that they could be sure how he'd rule on topics like redistricting and abortion rights - all but prejudging cases in advance
And those are just a few examples of Prosser's lack of a proper judicial temperament. I haven't even touched upon the fact that he promised he'd be a "complement" to Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans in the legislature, on account of the fact that his views "closely mirror" theirs. Lucey's critique of Prosser aligns very much with the case Kloppenburg and her supporters have been presenting all along, and it helps ensure that this will be topic #1 for the campaign's final days. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.