November 2011

Justice speaks

David Prosser has a lot he’d like to get off his chest.

Given the ongoing investigations, the Supreme Court justice is limited on what he can say, but Prosser is ready to address the toxic atmosphere on the state’s high court and in state judicial politics.

In a wide-ranging and candid interview, Prosser discusses his campaign for re-election, the struggles on the court and his fight to restore his reputation. Prosser describes what it is like to “walk out of the Capitol and see scrawled on the sidewalk, ‘Prosser should be in jail.’ He also discusses relations among the justices and, in particular, the role of the chief justice.

Also in this issue, Mike Nichols takes a long look at former U.S. Rep. David Obey, who continues to be poster child for the way Washington works. Even though Obey “made his mark as a reformer,” Nichols notes, he has now “joined a long line of former lawmakers hired by Washington lobbying firms.” Equally revealing is the extent to which Obey continues to have his hand in the public purse. Nichols estimates that Obey now collects an annual federal pension of $125,000.

“Like congressional salaries, that $125,000 estimated annual payment will automatically grow over time until he dies,” writes Nichols. “If he lives to the age of 85 . . . Obey would collect approximately $2 million in federal pension benefits.”

Also in the issue, we feature UW-Madison Professor Donald Downs, historian Fred Siegel and a lively point-counterpoint on the future of public employee unions by Stephen Hayes of The (conservative) Weekly Standard and John Nichols of The (liberal) Nation.

— Charles J. Sykes

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"She Walks Her Own Path"

UW law prof Ann Althouse’s blog has carved out a unique niche challenging liberal pieties. By Sunny Schubert


Mark Pocan's Smoke Screen

His pieties about protecting middle class families are a cover for hiking taxes on the poor. By Christian Schneider


Dave Obey's Big Payoff

Retirement has its perks when you leave office after 41 years in Congress. By Mike Nichols


Prosser Agonistes

In an exclusive interview, Justice David Prosser talks frankly of the ‘somewhat surreal’ world of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. By Charles J. Sykes



By Charles J. Sykes



Public workers represent the state's best traditions. By John Nichols


It's Taps

We’re witnessing the last gasp of public sector unionism. By Stephen F. Hayes


Tough Challenges Ahead

For conservatives, just saying ‘no’ probably won’t be enough to solve our state’s and nation’s problems. By Richard Esenberg


Looking Out for #1

Professors, like other professionals in American society, are losing sight of their civic obligations. By Donald A. Downs


Why Wisconsin's Labor Fight is Crucial

Gov. Walker is in the national vanguard fighting to reverse destructive union gains. By Fred Siegel