Among the reasons why David Prosser Jr. says he should be re-elected as Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice is because he brings a unique perspective as he has worked in all three branches of government.
“I like the work, I do a good job at bringing a different perspective to it, and since I’m sort of in the center of the court philosophically, I often serve as a mediator in trying to bring different point of view together,” Prosser said when he visited the Beloit Daily News Thursday.
Prosser will square off against Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg on April 5.
Prosser, 68, was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1998 by Gov. Tommy Thompson and was elected to a 10-year term in 2001.
During his 12 1/2 years as justice, the Appleton native said he has participated in more than 900 published decisions and has written 132 majority opinions. He also has written concurring and dissenting opinions. Prosser said he is also the only former legislator presently serving on the court.
The race for the nonpartisan office has heated up recently due to the multiple lawsuits, including one from the Dane County District Attorney, regarding Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget-repair bill that strips most public employees of collective bargaining rights.
Many think Prosser, a former Republican Assembly speaker, will side with Walker, whom Prosser calls a friend he knew from their time serving on the legislature together.
Nevertheless, Prosser assures: “I am not a rubber stamp for the governor.”
Instead, he said he is running on his record, which he says is a good one.
“I’ve been a fair, impartial, neutral justice in the past and will be a fair, impartial, neutral justice in the future,” he said. “Therefore, I am not committed to deciding any case one way or the other. I’m committed to deciding every case based on the facts and looking at it impartially.”
Prosser said he’s struggled with being called a “political hack” a few different times throughout his career, and he has severed relationships with many old friends in politics and stopped going to political meetings in order to earn credibility as a nonpartisan judge.
Late last year, he encountered a setback when a campaign manager issued a non-authorized news release alleging Prosser had the intent to retain the conservative majority on the court and to complement the new administration and legislature.
“I’m disavowing that,” Prosser said of the news release. “I am an independent justice on the court.”
Another present controversy Prosser — who said he believes the Wisconsin court system by and large is working well — addressed is whether or not justices should be elected. He believes they should.
“Ultimately that is the better system because justices need to be held accountable for their performance,” he said. “In that regard I enjoy going out and talking to people explaining what the court does and what my record is.”