Supreme Court votes to move its sessions behind closed doorsWisconsin News
-- Wisconsinites will no longer get to see their Supreme Court justices discuss the way they set their policies.
MADISON - Wisconsinites will no longer get to see their Supreme Court justices discuss the way they set their policies.
The court’s four-member conservative majority voted yesterday to move its public administrative sessions behind closed doors. That’s after the open sessions exposed some of the bitter disagreements the justices have had on various issues in recent years, which culminated in a brief shoving match last summer between justices David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley. The court also rejected Bradley’s request for a public hearing on the change.
Bradley, Pat Crooks, and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson voted against the move – and to continue the Supreme Court’s policy of open administrative conferences which had been in place since 1999. Wisconsin became one of the first states in the nation to show the public how its highest court operates. But Justice Annette Ziegler says the meetings have forced her colleagues to quote, “get bogged down on things on that reflect poorly on the court as an institution.” And Ziegler said the meetings do not reflect the good work the court does in its rulings on cases. Abrahamson said the closed meetings would not save the justices any time. And former Justice Janine Geske, who was on the court when the open conferences began, was sad to see them disappear quote, “in this time of distrust of government and distrust of the court.” Besides case arguments, the only public Supreme Court proceedings will now be to discuss changes in court rules.