July 8, 2011

Walker judicial team brings the Gableman defense

Governor Scott Walker's judicial selection committee (.pdf; 3 pgs.) includes Michael Best & Friedrich partner Eric McLeod, who represented Supreme Court Justice/Gableman in the latter's unsuccessful bid to have a Wisconsin Judicial Commission ethics complaint against him dismissed.

Gableman was accused of lying in a Statewide election in 2008, Year of Our Lord. McLeod and Jim Bopp, a lawyer from Indiana, prepared Gableman's defense. I understand it's fallacious to attribute the client's views to his counsel — after all, that's what Justice/Gableman did in his unprecedentedly sleazy teevee ad* — but the judiciary is all about politics for the Walker administration, so why shouldn't it be for everybody else?

Put another way, you don't want to be cynical, but they force you.

Therefore if this is the message Walker wants to send, good for him, and if it energizes his detractors, all the better. Go for it, by all means.

On the other hand when three of the four self-described "conservative" justices who recently invented a novel form of judicial authority — which otherwise is supposed to derive from the State constitution, by the way, a connexion claimed yet ironically denied by the four "conservatives" to both the State's elected representatives and the trial judge in that case — are subject to ethics investigations and/or formal ethics complaints, it's presumed that Walker's selection committee couldn't do much worse.

Scott Walker's team also includes a fellow Gableman alumnus of Hamline University who, Walker's crack communications specialists advise us, "is currently practicing in the area of . . . Land Lord Tennant Law."

Good grief.

* Moreover, McLeod's co-counsel went so far as to malign the integrity of his client's rival by belittling him as the "type of person" who would take on a criminal case. In fact Bopp, Esq.'s remarks** were so offensive to those concerned with professional ethics that they induced Justice Patrick Crooks to switch his vote from dismissing a set of motions to have Justice/Gableman recused from criminal cases to granting those motions. That alone is a big deal and an even bigger deal that Crooks decided to make public his decision and his reasons for making it.

And it's why Lester Pines ruefully opined that nobody whoever practiced criminal defense — the right to which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution — could ever be a Supreme Court justice, which is most probably true, thanks to the cynical manipulation of Wisconsin's system of electing them by dishonest Republican politicians like Mike Gableman.

As was noted here in April, 2008, it's not the voters who can't be trusted when it comes to electing Supreme Court judges. It's the candidates.

** And it's not fallacious to attribute the counsel's views to the client.


Briane said...

What's disheartening is not that they defended their client -- that's expected. It's the method they chose to use ("Each thing he said is literally true, we can't be responsible if you draw inferences from it") that is out of bounds. Lawyers are expected to advocate for their clients, but their argument was the least common denominator of ethics.

illusory tenant said...

And in fact each thing he said was not literally true.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem in Supreme Court elections is the corrupting influence of money. Too bad the impartial justice bill barely got a chance to work.

gnarlytrombone said...

IT, is Gableman's motion for Crook's recusal available anywhere?

illusory tenant said...

I can't find it at the moment but I know I had it at one point (might have a hard copy here somewhere).

gnarlytrombone said...

Ah, no big deal. Just curious.

illusory tenant said...

I'll try to scrounge it up in my travels.

Blake said...

Maybe they meant "Time Lord Tennant Law." That would be an exciting area of practice.