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Thursday - June 14, 2018 5:59 am

Tougher recusal rules needed before next nasty SUPCO election

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In less than six months, Wisconsin voters will head to the polls to fill a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Justice Shirley Abrahamson will be stepping down after 42 years on the job. If history is any guide, the race to replace her will be nasty, with millions of dollars to be spent on attack ads funded by special interest groups. But what happens when the groups who spent all that money trying to get a judge elected to the state's highest court finds itself having to appear in a legal case before the Supreme Court? Unlike nearly every other state, Wisconsin has virtually no rules dictating when a member of the high court should step down and not hear the case because of the obvious conflict of interest. Actually there are some rules. That members of the Supreme Court should decide for themselves whether they should recuse themselves. The rule, or non-rule, was written by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, one of the state's biggest and most powerful special interest group. In the most recent Wisconsin Supreme Court election, the WMC spent about a million dollars supporting Michael Screnock's candidacy. Screnock didn't win, but if he did, and a case involving WMC came before the high court, Screnock would have no requirement to not hear the case. Even though they spent a million dollars to get him elected. That is a clear conflict of interest. That's why our high court needs to adopt stronger recusal rules. And they should do that before the next nasty election.

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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