MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Gov. Scott Walker says the process for reviewing complaints against sitting state Supreme Court justices must be one that instills confidence, but he won’t say whether changes should be brought.
Walker was asked Tuesday whether he thinks an independent panel should be established to hear ethics cases against Supreme Court judges.
Two members of the state Supreme Court have recused themselves from considering charges that fellow Justice David Prosser violated judicial ethics when he allegedly wrapped his hands around the neck of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley last year.
If one more steps aside, the case may end due to lack of a quorum.
Walker said he’s hesitant to tell a separate branch of government how to operate, but whatever ethics complaint process is in place should instill confidence.
No less important than a credible forum to resolve issue such as this, is the need to preserve the court’s independence from the other branches of government.
How about a panel of three or five retired judges such as those who govern the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board? They could be chosen from a pool by lot or random draw. That would eliminate any potential claims of bias appointments by the governor would bring.