Fitzgerald flunks 'live microphone' test
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson made a surprise visit Tuesday to the Joint Finance Committee, but she didn’t get quite the response she’s used to from legislators.
When she walked in the room, committee co-chairman Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) – in front of a live microphone – uttered a four-letter word that starts with “S” and is something you wouldn’t want to step in. His comment was broadcast over the Internet and on internal radios throughout the Capitol.
The committee was in the midst of discussing whether to trim more than $100,000 from the Supreme Court's $50 million two-year budget. A federal grant that pays for setting standards for court interpreters is expiring, and Abrahamson has asked the state to pick up those costs. Some committee members said the court should be able to find money to cover those costs within its existing budget.
Abrahamson’s presence heightened the tension over the issue, and the committee ended up taking no action on the matter Tuesday. It will likely consider what to do with the courts when it resumes its deliberations Thursday.
During Tuesday’s debate, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) asked to speak to Abrahamson since she was in the room. Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah), the other committee co-chairman, denied that request because of the precedent it could set. Then, with a sheepish smile, he quickly added, “But we’re glad she’s here.”
Funny blog entry from the JSOnline - Seems our Republicans are scared of a judge: