Monday, May 19, 2008

Republicans, Right or Wrong Respected, Still?

Have you noticed how Republicans are complimented routinely in the media for every decision they make. Just a few weeks ago a newscaster introduced a story about the passage of the hotly discussed Great Lakes Compact between eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces to protect the lakes from large-scale water diversions. Months after the Democrats approved the language, the Republicans acquiesced. The newscaster stated that after finally getting Republican approval, only now could Wisconsin be confident the agreement would be fair to all sides of the debate. This misplaced credibility is a result of years of market positioning.

The assumption is that they are the guardians of our liberal democracy, founded on liberal values. Go figure.

The same is true of our court judges and justices. Take former DA, state legislator and now state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.

According to the Chicago Tribune; “Justice Prosser said he did nothing wrong when, as a district attorney, he talked with a bishop about a priest's inappropriate conduct with two young boys in the 1970s…he raised concerns about Pastor John Feeney's conduct, (the Bishop) said he would "take care of it." Prosser said, ’I assumed that when the Bishop said he would take care of it that he would remove this guy from the parish. I don't think he acted promptly."

Prosser, a grownup, should have known better. Even if things were "taken care of," it’s a crime to try and feel up little boys. Stranger still, “Prosser has recused himself from two cases on the docket this session that involve the Catholic Church and allegations of sexual abuse of minors.” Is there something a little deeper here?

“In a December 1978 letter, (the Bishop) wrote "I had to agree with the district attorney that the church would prefer to keep this out of court and out of the public eye…with which he agreed." Is Prosser really letting a pedophile Pastor off the hook? It took a few decades, but “Feeney, now 81, was convicted in 2004 and is serving 15 years in jail.”

And Republicans are filled with excuses and bothered by details. “Prosser said he didn't think he could win a case. He told the mother "that a trial was going to be a test of credibility of two young boys against a priest. I believed the boys. Their credibility would be attacked in court. They would be national news. It would be difficult for them at trial and in their small community." Prosser noted that the state's sexual assault laws were rewritten in the late 1970s -- changing from rape to sexual assault -- and were complicated and untested.”

Too complicated for a future Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice? Wisconsin can be proud.

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