April 7, 2011

Curiouser and curiouser

Interesting posit by the local Milwaukee rag...

How the state Supreme Court race could end up in court, and maybe even the state Supreme Court

By Craig Gilbert of the Journal Sentinel
April 6, 2011

With the very real possibility of a recount in the ultra-close state Supreme Court race, the election involving the state’s highest court could itself eventually be decided in court.

In one twist, state law calls for Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson to appoint the state judge who would hear the case if the loser of a recount in a statewide election goes to court over the outcome. Abrahamson and David Prosser, the incumbent in the Supreme Court contest, have clashed on the court. Prosser’s private remark calling Abrahamson a “total bitch” was the subject of a recent political ad attacking Prosser.

State law says the trial judge in the case should be a reserve judge if one is available.

Once there is a ruling, it may be appealed to the District IV Court of Appeals based in Madison, a court made up of five members: Margaret Vergeront, Brian Blanchard, Gary Sherman, Paul Higginbotham and Paul Lundsten.

The statute says the appeals process outlined above is the “exclusive judicial remedy” in the case of a recount dispute. It does not explicitly say whether the finding of the Court of Appeals could then be appealed to the state Supreme Court, on which Prosser sits.

But the state's top election official, Kevin Kennedy, says he understands the law to mean that a decision by the Court of Appeals on the state Supreme Court race could in fact be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

"I don't think there's any question it can go there after the Court of Appeals," said Kennedy.