Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has recused himself from a prominent case on campaign-finance regulations that is coming before the court, in the wake of objections that he would have a potential conflict of interest — because the lead attorney for the Tea Party groups challenging the regulations, Jim Troupis, was just recently Prosser’s own attorney in the recount of his very close re-election campaign.
Prosser sent a letter to all the various parties in the case, stating simply:
Please be advised that I will not participate in the oral argument or decision in Wisconsin Prosperity Network v. Myse.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that with Prosser absent from the court’s 4-3 conservative majority, the court could now potentially split 3-3. Such a deadlock would leave the regulations upheld and in place — though the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, has already indicated that it will not enforce the most controversial aspects of them.
Prosser had previously indicated that he would not recuse himself from the case, though many legal experts said that he should. However, in mid-August he sent the parties a letter that opened the door to a recusal, asking for their opinions on whether he should do so.
Prosser noted that he and Troupis had been friends for two decades — but also said that he had associations with other attorneys on both sides, and that he believed he could be “completely impartial” in deciding the case. “In sum, when all the facts are examined, I do not have a favorite ‘horse in this race.’”
Earlier this week, the major state teachers union WEAC responded, asking Prosser to recuse himself.
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