April 2, 2008

Where they know them best

Gableman, who was criticized widely for an ad attacking Butler's work as a public defender, said he was "very proud of the fact we ran a positive [sic] campaign."
Truly, a campaign of which one can be justly proud.
"You don't get a more stark contrast or clear contrast than that between a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney," Gableman said. "Therefore, I don't view it as a negative ad. I view it as an ad that illustrates the real differences of our professional backgrounds."
Gableman was the district attorney in Ashland County, which he lost last night, and Butler practiced in Milwaukee County, where he won.

I had the great pleasure of meeting and speaking with Erin Celello, Jay Blakeley, and Sachin Chheda, the three principals who ran Justice Butler's campaign. Not once did they ever stoop to the disgraceful netherworld where Gableman and his enablers descended.

Shame on the local press for repeatedly suggesting that they did.


AutismNewsBeat said...

Oh crap! I can't believe Gableman and the WMC got away with this.

I found this commment on a Madison news blog:

If you don't like WMC's behavior in our Supreme Court elections, stop buying Johnsonville brats and all other Johnsonsville products. Tell Johnsonville and any other WMC board member that you will not buy their products. Don't attend Metcalfe's Bratfest.

I can live without Johnsonville Brats. Anyone else?

illusory tenant said...

I've endorsed Usinger's for years. Is Usinger's on the list? I bloody well hope not.

Jim Bouman said...

TDS Metrocom's President and CEO, David Wittwer got a letter from me, telling him that I was extremely happy with his company's services (telephone and DSL at $70 a month) over the past five years. Then I told him that I was going to dump TDS, because of his position as a Board Member of WMC.

He wrote back to tell me that he's resigned from the WMC Board "for personal and philosophical reasons". (And his name disappeared from the list of directors ten days ago. )

He then asked me to reconsider my decision to look elsewhere for phone service.

A sensibly pragmatic response. And I am sticking with TDS.

A copy of the letter he sent me here at my blog:http://waterbloggedinwaukesha.blogspot.com/

Emily said...

HB - Easy enough for me, but I'm a vegetarian.

I'm also in shock about the results. I guess it just goes to show that dirty tactics and lots of moneyed interests are still better than honesty and an informed populace when it comes to winning elections.


Zach W. said...

Our Supreme Court got a good dose of "dumbing down" with last night's results.

Anonymous said...

Hope is alive.

Our spirit will not be demolished, by today's election data. There have been worse days and better, and there will be worse and better to come.

Much respect and gratitude is due to Justice Butler for his service; for his integrity, impartiality, and independence; for his admirable alloy of professionalism and humanity; and for his example and his tough forbearance. Thank you, Justice Louis Butler.

Many thanks to all those (not least of which is illusory tenant) who defended so well the shining promise of justice and democracy. Thanks for the inspiration, and the solidarity, and the future.

illusory tenant said...

Well said, Clyde, and many thanks. Contrary to what others may think, I am not angry at all, but certainly disappointed.

I'm convinced I supported the best man, and the correct principles. How could I -- or any of us -- possibly be angry about that?

3rd Way said...

Many thanks to all those (not least of which is illusory tenant) who defended so well the shining promise of justice and democracy.

hear, hear!

Thanks for all your hard work with this election iT. You provided a valuable service. If your voice was as loud as others the outcome of this election could have been different.

Sam Sarver said...

My dad put it best last night when he said, "I can't believe a guy who basically said criminal defendants have no right to a defense attorney is going to be sitting on the Supreme Court."

I, like my friend iTenant, am not angry over this, but gravely disappointed and worried about the future of the Wisconsin judiciary. There are conservatives on the Supreme Court that I respect, namely Prosser and Wilcox. But between Ziegler and Gableman, the right now has two acolytes of the less-than-thoughtful persuasion serving for the next decade. That scares me.

There are lots of competent conservative jurists in the state who didn't run this time. I'm still curious why not.

capper said...

Congrats on your hard work. Tis a shame that Butler was so grievously disrespected.

Back to work now, boy. I could use a wee bit of assistance. Let me know when you're available.

Jim Bouman said...

Thanks, iT

I didn't see the TV commercials nor hear the radio blab. (I keep the TV in the basement, all dank and poorly heated; long before there was a web, it was my web site).

But I read all of your analysis and debunking, Plaisted's, too. Clearly a lot of work and legal analysis and sweating the details.

It was thorough, painstaking, precise. And it righteously skewered those leakers. But the TV barrage and the last minute phone calls seem to have tipped the scales.

I don't think Louis Butler's career is over. There are other courts, courts that don't rely on electioneering. I think he'll be on one of them.

And, once there, he'll be reviewing WMCs bought-and-paid -for Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions.

Poetic justice.

illusory tenant said...

Thanks. And I'm sure Louis Butler will be just fine.

AutismNewsBeat said...

From this mornings WSJ:

The Wisconsin 'Tragedy'

April 3, 2008; Page A14

Governor Jim Doyle called the result of Wisconsin's state Supreme Court election "a tragedy." It's surprising to hear how little he thinks of his constituents, who had the sense to depose one of the court's ultra-liberal justices and in the process helped toughen the standards for judicial accountability.

The election was a referendum on Louis Butler and the high court's sharp political turn. Justice Butler was appointed by Governor Doyle, a Democrat, to fill a vacancy in 2004. This gave liberals a majority and Justice Butler proceeded to indulge the legal theories of the tort bar and activist left, for instance laying waste to Wisconsin's medical malpractice laws and endorsing a "risk contribution" liability standard for lead paint that made the question of guilt or innocence irrelevant.

But Mr. Butler was required to stand for election, and on Tuesday he narrowly lost to district court Judge Michael Gableman. Mr. Gableman's 10-year term will begin in August and probably tip the balance of the court to a 4-3 conservative majority.

Closely watched nationally, the election became a proxy war between third parties, with business interests lining up behind Mr. Gableman and trial lawyers and organized labor plumping for Mr. Butler. The hotly contested race supposedly shows the need for "merit selection" or public financing in judicial elections. But both sides leveraged roughly the same amount of money, and voters had a choice of two distinct legal philosophies.

The Wisconsin result should reverberate through the 39 states that elect some or all of their appellate-level judges. Mr. Butler is the first incumbent justice to be ousted in more than four decades there. A seat on the bench is not a sinecure, and justices who abuse or contort the law must sometimes answer for their actions.

Quel crap!,

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered refering keith olbermann to the Gableman "willie horton" ad (it can still be seen on You Tube),pointing out where it's false and misleading, and nominating Gableman as Worst Person in the World? It's got to be at least as easy as nominating Sykes for a Pulitzer.

Anonymous said...

Others may not be angry, but I am.

And grieving.

And frightened at the specter of what our "justice" system has become.

Absolutely, we need to support Justice Butler any way we can. He has well earned it. (frankly, I think he's earned a place on the federal bench, but no one gave me that power).

But we also have to figure out what went wrong . . . and try to keep such a travesty from happening again.

In that spirit, a few thoughts:

1) We need serious, major, public education on the role of appellate judges in our system. Rather than pouring however much money its spending on its campaign for "branding" attorneys, perhaps the state bar could spend more to support more public education efforts. WMC aside, in reality the Supreme Court's role in criminal sentencing - and especially in "stopping crime" - is limited. That's the job of prosecutors (and police), not the appellate courts. Obviously, that's not how far too large a segment of the public sees the court's role.

2) We need to look at turnout. And then look at it again. And again. Turnout in the city of Milwaukee was abysmal - and that could have made the difference. Turnout on college campuses - which were flooded with voters for Obama just weeks ago - was also low. WHY? Does this relate to #1? Is there a need for more education on what judicial elections mean (and NOT just about criminal justice) and why people need to get out and vote in them?

3) Apropos to #2 - why, exactly, do we have these elections in April? Turnout is almost uniformly low, whoever's running,whatever's on the ballot.

Which, it seems to me, poses a greater burden (and less likelihood of participation) on some people in the community than others - low wage workers, for example, who don't want to take time off and lose pay, or inner city residents with no transportation to the polls. (And who knows what's up with the college students). Certainly it's easier to get turnout in November - that's when (at least every other year) the perceived "big ticket" items - governor, president, senator, etc - are on the ballot. And it seems to me that more turnout, of more sectors of our community, is likely to achieve a better result - not always, of course, but hopefully to militate against some of the right-wing hysteria that drove too many voters to the polls on Tuesday. So - why couldn't the judicial elections also be held in November (heck, go ahead and add in school boards, county execs, mayors, whatever)? The Wisc constitution only says the judges take office in August. It doesn't appear to require elections in April (see Art 7, Sec 4). Would that get more people to the polls? would getting more people to the polls lead to a more fair and representative outcome?

4) On boycotting WMC - someone, or some group of someones - should try to come up with a coordinated, public boycott campaign against one or two of the leading targets. Johnsonville? Hell, I'm a vegetarian, works for me. But what about US Bank? the others? who's the power behind the throne?

capper said...

I gotta give up my Johnsonvilles?!

What a king has to do for his people. Sigh.

I don't like Usingers or Klements. Guess, I'll have to get the expensive handmade stuff from the butcher's shop.