Back when Annette Ziegler's ethical lapses first hit the mainstream media I drew a comparison to a famous incident (and political lesson) having to do with Julius Caesar's wife, Pompeia.
It's this: it doesn't matter whether she did anything wrong when she's in a position that can never afford to come under suspicion. In her position, even the appearance of evil, is evil.
Having happily accepted wickedly engineered, slop-slinging campaign commercials and funding from the WMC, Justice Ziegler is now in the position of Caesar's wife: she looks like she's in their pocket -- whether she is or not.
The thing about being a judge is that the moment you've compromised yourself, someone will always be there to question your credibility and competence -- regardless of whether you really are credible or competent.
And so, it's come to pass.
State has best high court that money can buy
By JOEL MCNALLY Monday, July 14, 2008
and Example 2:
Business group invested heavily in her election to high court
By PATRICK MARLEY and STACY FORSTER
Posted: July 14, 2008
Madison - State Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler said Friday that she did not have a conflict of interest in writing a court decision that came down on the side championed by a group that spent more than $2 million to get her elected last year.
Ziegler authored the 4-3 decision that backed the position of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobby, which spent more than $2 million to help get Ziegler elected. WMC spent more than Ziegler’s own campaign, but by law the two could not coordinate efforts.
She said she had no reason to step aside in the case.
“I was elected to do a job, and I did my job,” Ziegler said. “I was assigned to write this case, and I wrote it consistent with the majority decision. There were four justices who agreed on the outcome.”
True or not, fair or not, it looks like the job she's done is the job WMC has paid her to do.
Every decision she makes from now on, as I said last year, will invite suspicion.
And so it goes,