...Twelve years ago, the court had a different make-up but Shirley Abrahamson was still the problem. Back in 1999, four justices tried to curb Abrahamson's power. They included Bill Bablitch, recently deceased, Patrick Crooks, Don Steinmetz, and Jon Wilcox. Bablitch, a former Democratic state senator, complained that Abrahamson, even then the chief justice, never let the court know what she was up to.
...Way back in the mid-1980s, the Milwaukee Journal quoted an unnamed justice as saying Abrahamson gave colleagues the finger in conference and ridiculed their opinions in her dissents. Long before Abrahamson was trading barbs with Prosser and Roggensack, she was locked in a public battle with Justice Roland B. Day. There has been consistent criticism of her management style, Nichols reported.
One lawyer who has worked in the court calls her style "toxic" and compared dealing with her to chewing tinfoil. In short, Abrahamson may be brilliant, but her critics say she doesn't countenance other perspectives or much care about consensus or conciliation.
Clearly, there's a pattern of practice which Screechin'Shirley follows. So we can update the old joke:
Q. What's the difference between Shirley Abrahamson and the Panama Canal?
A. One of them is a busy ditch.