October 13, 2008

Gableman grievance has merit

Unlike the United States Constitution, which places only a requirement of "good Behavior" on Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Wisconsin a "supreme court justice ... must be an attorney licensed to practice law in this state."

Because of that State constitutional provision, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman's investigation by the Office of Lawyer Regulation might be even more troublesome for him than is his concurrent inquiry with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission.

While removal from the bench is by far the most severe disposition that may result from the Judicial Commission's activities, the OLR, depending on the circumstances of its investigation, can petition the Supreme Court to suspend Gableman's license to practice law, the granting of which petition would render Gableman ineligible to serve on the court (or any State court, for that matter).

Gableman's campaign consultant, Darrin Schmitz, calls the grievance filed with the OLR "frivolous." Unfortunately for Schmitz, it's his own objection that's without any merit because the OLR would not have appointed a special investigator unless "there [was] sufficient information to support an allegation of possible misconduct."

In other words, the Office of Lawyer Regulation has already made a determination that the complaint against Gableman has some merit. Otherwise the OLR would have closed the matter had the grievance not "present[ed] sufficient information of cause to proceed."

But why a Republican "campaign consultant" is still speaking on behalf of a sitting State Supreme Court Justice is anybody's guess. After all, it's consulting with Republican operatives that got Michael Gableman into this latest pickle in the first place.

eta: Gableman merits Howard Bashman's blawg.


Brett said...

It's comedic how the term "frivolous" is thrown around. Even when cases result in massive awards, critics still get there 9 o'clock sound bite by maligning the suit as "frivolous" That's the irony of caps on compensatory damages: if frivolous suits is what we're concerned about, why limit the most seriously hurt person's ability to recover? Sorry, sorta off point.

Anonymous said...

I think this is petty silliness but it does make me wonder why the average person in this State doesn't get this type of attention when a judge or lawyer or both abuse them.

Anonymous said...

the alleged conduct was more wilful than the conduct the court found ziegler to have engaged in, plus it can be argued that gableman would not have been elected but for his conduct. so i wonder if its possible that the Court will conclude that "equitable relief" would be removal from office?

Anonymous said...

>>But why a Republican "campaign consultant" is still speaking on behalf of a sitting State Supreme Court Justice is anybody's guess.<<

Thank you. I'm not a member of the Bar, but when I read this it struck me as totally inappropriate.