Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser “issued a 15-page opinion explaining why he believed he could participate” in the recent campaign finance decision involving Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-recall campaign, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Prosser joined the majority of the court in the “John Doe” case, when it ruled that no campaign finance laws were violated by the anti-recall campaign and several conservative groups that were alleged to have coordinated their activities. The same groups spent significant sums to benefit Prosser’s supreme court campaign and the campaigns of other justices in the majority, and a special prosecutor asked Prosser and another justice to recuse themselves from the case. Neither did so. (See Gavel Grab.)
“Prosser wrote that outside spending to help him was ‘very valuable to my campaign’ but did not rise to a level that would require him to step down from the challenge to the investigation of those groups,” according to the Journal-Sentinel.
Meanwhile, critics of the Wisconsin high court’s ruling are urging prosecutors to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that the justices who benefited from outside spending, but did not recuse themselves, may have had an unconstitutional conflict of interest. (See Gavel Grab).