Observes Cory Liebmann through his Eye on Wisconsin.
Speaking of loopholes, Gableman decided yesterday that an Onalaska, Wisconsin school's firing of a veteran 53-year-old teacher and replacing her with one eighteen years her junior is an employment practice protected as a "free exercise of religion," and that the dismissed teacher is therefore precluded from pursuing any further her age discrimination claim against the former employer.
In reversing the court of appeals, the circuit court, and several State administrative bodies, Gableman accomplished his result by selecting among precedent in other jurisdictions and retooling the legal test — or "legislating from the bench," as some might have it — against which similar claims are to be measured in future in Wisconsin.
A considerable portion of Gableman's opinion is necessarily devoted to illuminating the ethical instructions of one Jesus Christ in the context of Roman Catholic doctrine in order to ascertain whether the terminated teacher's duties were such that they qualified for an "ecclesiastical exception" — as Justice N. Patrick Crooks in dissent describes it — to Wisconsin's employment discrimination statutes.
The apparent corollary is that the Church may fire priests in many circumstances without running afoul of Wisconsin employment law.
Gableman himself is currently under investigation by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission — a secular, Earth-bound entity — for ethics violations perpetrated during an election campaign last year.
Gableman stands accused by the Commission of lying — that's the Commission's word — about his opponent to gain political advantage.
A notable conservative observer, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and now-Seventh Circuit Judge Diane S. Sykes, characterized Gableman's teevee commercial at the heart of the Commission's investigation as a "particularly base and deceptive attack ad."
But Gableman told reporters he was "proud" of the campaign he'd run.