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Louis Butler For Wisconsin State Supreme Court, And Why Honor Matters

March 25, 2008

UPDATE

Also read why I think WMC and the NRA think Michael Gableman is pliable.

I think the best measure of any potential office holder can be found in the way the person conducts their campaign.  If a candidate is not capable of honor while seeking votes, how can I be sure of their conduct once given the responsibility and power of the office?

Over the past weeks I have watched with disbelief at the tone and tactics taken by Michael Gableman, and I am left feeling mighty perplexed as to what is happening to the process of electing candidates to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.  Having said that I will go where the Wisconsin State Journal feared to tread.  There is only one candidate running that is worthy of serving on the highest court in our state.

The candidate that deserves your vote for Wisconsin Supreme Court is Louis Butler.

I can understand how varying points of view, and different philosophical points on the compass can divide candidates for any office.  That is what makes our system of democracy vibrant and healthy.  Those differences should add to the dialogue, and allow for better understanding among the voters who follow the race.  But when Michael Gableman unleashed what many rightly concluded as a racist ad, I along with many voters wondered what happened to the way candidates once sought a seat on the Supreme Court.  Where was the honor in running for the office?  What is happening in our electoral culture here in the Badger State? 

With glaring and inexcusable lapses in judgment Gableman has made charges that are just not truthful.   The assertions made by Gableman in an attack ad against Louis Butler concerning a person charged with a sex crime were proved to be false.  There is no way that the Gableman campaign could not have known the facts.   The only way they were able to construct that ad was to take the facts, and jumble it all so as to distort, mislead, and mangle, all in a bizarre hope to confuse the voters.

Where is the honor in running that type of campaign?

Serious minds are backing way from the troubled candidacy of Michael Gableman.  Last week Dodge County District Attorney Steven Bauer removed his endorsement in response to the attack ad that was blatantly incorrect.  In a letter Bauer made his views very clear.

I am troubled that a candidate for our highest court would belittle our constitutional right to counsel which enhances the accuracy of the criminal justice system. I am equally troubled by Gableman’s cavalier disregard for accuracy in his representations to the public through this ad. The integrity of the criminal justice system should not be allowed to be tarnished by one man’s ambitious desire for higher office. Judge Gableman will not be receiving my vote for Supreme Court justice in April.

I have profound doubts, based on the way Michael Gableman has conducted this race, as to his ability to wade through even the most evident of facts and reach a clear understanding of where the truth is to be found.  Is that not supposed to be the way law is to be followed? If he cannot achieve that in a campaign, how will he do any better when the weighty issues of the court fall on his shoulders?

I still hold to some old-fashioned ideas about how races for public office should be conducted.  As I told a candidate for state office once when he asked for my advice, “do nothing, whether you win or lose, that you will not feel proud about the morning after the election when you look in the mirror.”

I fear that is too late for Michael Gableman.

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2 Comments
  1. March 30, 2008 6:04 PM

    To oppose constitutional safeguards in relation to the law and courts is a mighty step downwards in a campaign for the Supreme Court. Not only must Butler be elected, but it seems we need to educate some folks in Wisconsin regarding civics and the need for all people to have legal representation…..and why that is important.

  2. Tom Atkinson permalink
    March 27, 2008 12:57 PM

    Let me first state that there has been a dramatic and sweeping change in over a century of tort law since Louis Butler ascended the bench. Though he compares himself to US Supreme Court Chief Justice Scalia, that analogy is laughable! I applaud Judge Gableman’s criticism of Justice Butler’s recent decisions as a member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This is the same criticism vocalized by numerous publications and legal scholars including the venerable Wall Street Journal and Marquette University Law School professor Rick Esenberg. Justice Butler has failed to show judicial restraint and has ignored the very Supreme Court precident that he claims to cherish.

    As for the tone of the campaign which you decry, take a day off from your writing and pull up newspaper articles from over 100 years ago and review the campaign coverage. I was a history major at Marquette and spent a year doing the very same study as part of a course I attended. This rhetoric in campaigns is nothing new and the fact that we find it now a part of a Supreme Court election shouldn’t surprise you given the enormous shift in the “special insterest decisions” by this court. Why do you think the biggest doners to Justice Butlers campaign are plaintiff trial lawyers? Louis Butler the lawyer had a choice in the type of law he chose to practice and he chose to represent criminal defendants some of whom were innocent and most of whom were guilty according to a review of the records during his tenor as a PD. Attorney Butler has a choice in whether he represents convincted pedophiles the same as an the attorney who represents the state and victim. If you are being asked to perform something that some feel is immoral or tainted, he could have resigned and found another job where he had more control over whom he represented. Sure the convicted rapist has Constitutional rights, but nobody forced attorney Butler to represent him.

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