Special Prosecutor Seeks Judicial Recusal in Wisconsin Cases

Seal_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_Wisconsin.svgThe special prosecutor who has led a state campaign finance investigation now has asked one or more Wisconsin Supreme Court justices to step aside from hearing challenges to the probe.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article said the court filing was sealed, but a docket revealed information that special prosecutor Francis Schmitz brought up “ethical concerns” and asked one or more justices to halt their participation in the case. The investigation has examined whether the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker worked illegally with conservative groups backing him when recall elections were held in 2011 and 2012.

Gavel Grab has previously mentioned calls for four Wisconsin Supreme Court justices  to recuse themselves from hearing the high-profile controversy due to their benefitting from campaign spending by involved groups. “No matter how it’s resolved, these kinds of episodes are going to happen over and over again as more money piles up around state judicial elections,” Justice at Stake Executive Director Bert Brandenburg told a Wisconsin newspaper last fall.

On Monday, the Beloit Daily News editorialized about the situation facing the Wisconsin Supreme Court, “Of course this looks like conflict: Wisconsin Supreme Court is seriously compromised when it comes to hearing John Doe arguments.”

“This is the mess created when partisan interests set out to politicize the courts. All four justices should step aside. And Wisconsin should rethink how it fills seats on the Supreme Court,” the editorial stated.