Kloppenburg best choice for court

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser began his campaign for retention by boasting that he would serve on the bench as a “compliment” (sic) to the agenda of Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s GOP majority. So much for the quaint ideals of blind justice and accurate spelling.

In the short time since Prosser made his announcement, one that instantly relieved him of any shred of credibility he might have held, Walker’s agenda has tanked in the polls. Now it’s only fitting that Prosser should go down with the ship he so recklessly boarded.

The Facebook page titled “Prosser Equals Walker” tells voters nearly all they need to know about Prosser. Fortunately, there’s an alternative candidate with impeccable credentials on the April 5 ballot – Joanne Kloppenburg.

Prosser has a history of putting politics and personal ambition ahead of the law. In 1979, while serving as Outagamie County District Attorney, he declined to prosecute a Green Bay priest accused of abusing young boys. When the mother of two victims implored Prosser to file charges, he dismissed her.  “It would be too hard on the boys,” he said.

The Rev. John Patrick Feeney went on to abuse other children for many years before finally going to prison in 2004. Prosser went on to become a member of the Assembly before Gov. Tommy Thompson elevated him to the state’s highest court in 1998, where he has been a reliable member of the court’s conservative bloc ever since.

Prosser’s behavior on the bench has been reprehensible. He has accused rape victims of lying to gain easier access to abortion services. Behind closed doors, he called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a “bitch” and threatened to “destroy” her.

Such antics have won Prosser fervent admirers from the conservative fringe. Right-wing groups such as Wisconsin Club for Growth have bought airtime for him. Christian right groups tout his “pro-family” record, although Prosser, like Wisconsin Family Action’s hypocritical president Julainne Appling, has no family of his own by their definition – that is, no opposite-sex spouse or children.

Fortunately for LGBT and progressive voters, there is a supremely qualified candidate on the April 5 ballot. Joanne Kloppenburg has the experience, integrity and political independence to help restore our confidence in a court that has been strained in recent years by unseemly partisan bickering.

At the same time that Prosser was protecting pedophile priests, Kloppenburg was in the Peace Corps, serving side by side with her husband in Botswana. Educated at Princeton and Yale, she attended law school at UW-Madison after returning to the United States.

Kloppenburg joined the Wisconsin Department of Justice in 1989 as a prosecutor in environmental law. She has served under attorneys general from both parties and has supporters on both sides of the political aisle.

Kloppenburg understands that the courts exist to solve the problems of real people, not to promote political agendas or protect the interests of the privileged and politically connected. She recognizes that the law, not the party in power or the prevailing political mood, is the ultimate authority in the courtroom.

WiG urges readers to support Kloppenburg in this critical race, which could have enormous impact on the future of our state.