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As I See It

Tighter recusal rules needed for Wisconsin’s high court

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There is plenty of scrutiny of judges in the nation’s capital. But not so much in Wisconsin. In Washington, D.C. our Senate will soon vote whether to confirm nominated Supreme Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Meanwhile, some are calling for incumbent Supreme Court Justice Clearance Thomas to step down. Turns out his wife is a big Trumper and attended the January 6 rally, but Thomas did not recuse himself when hearing a case about President Trump’s records relating to January 6. Thomas was the lone dissenter. In Wisconsin, judges on the Supreme Court have great latitude when hearing cases where they may have a conflict of interest. Too much latitude. In fact, if a member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case involving their biggest donor, there is no rule that they must recuse themselves from hearing that case. In fact, it is entirely up to them. If a member of the Supreme Court has taken money from someone involved in a case they are hearing, they should have to sit that case out. Even if there is just the appearance of a conflict of interest, they should recuse. When dozens of former Wisconsin judges urged the state high court to strengthen its recusal rules, the court refused. If we are to have confidence in our court systems, we need to be certain that the judges hearing the case don’t have a rooted interest in the outcome.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Clyde Fromona

    April 8, 2022 at 7:31 am

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s husband Martin D. Ginsburg was an attorney for the Washington Firm, Fried Frank. Fried Frank appeared before the Supreme Court multi-multiple times while RBG was a Supreme Court Justice. Not once did she recuse herself and regularly voted for the leftist position Fried Frank was arguing. Why was that never worthy of an “As I See It”?

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