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Law as a contact sport?

The war metaphors for testy litigation are many: Battle, fight, skirmish, all-out assault.

And trial lawyer-warriors sometimes get too pumped up. In Richmond, about 20 years ago, a prosecutor and a defense lawyer took all the battle talk one step further: They came to actual fisticuffs in a courthouse hallway.

On the bench, we expect cooler heads. And in the rarified, high-rent air of a state supreme court, we expect reasoned discourse and disagreement to be agreeable.

Up in the Badger State, however, one justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court has accused another of choking her during an argument. The alleged altercation came right before that court handed down a 4-3 decision upholding the state’s controversial measure curtailing the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

One of the court’s liberals says one of the court’s conservatives put his hands around her neck during an argument in her office. He has denied the incident occurred.

Our colleagues at the Wisconsin Law Journal have the story.

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