What do we do with Gableman?


The other day I was walking out of Memorial Library when I had the pleasure of recognizing Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. At least I believe it was him. He was sauntering along with a younger man – perhaps a clerk or a CFACT admirer. I had a strong temptation to shout out “CHILD MOLESTER,” to see how he would respond.

There’s a lot of confusion about what needs to be done with Gableman, a justice who found his spot on the court after running a campaign focused on his “support from law enforcement” as well as his opponent’s career as a public defender. Gableman found Louis Butler’s past defending people accused of crimes simply repulsive.

Since there haven’t been any recent updates on the ethics charges against him, Ed Garvey is suggesting that Gableman recuse himself from all cases involving criminal defendants. That would be a good preliminary step. Garvey suggests another good secondary step: publicly funding Supreme Court races. However, for that to be effective additional regulation of third party campaign ads, such as the ones run by WMC against Butler, would be necessary.

Moreover, the conclusion to any judicial reform in Wisconsin should be the termination of judicial elections, and more importantly, the termination of re-elections. Although the Cap Times is loathe to doubt the wisdom of the Wisconsin volk, it’s time they recognize that there are certain matters that are best not handled by the people.

The political system is dirty, and involves playing to any appeal possible to win votes, however, the judicial system is supposed to counter-act that. If judges owe their careers to elections they cannot be expected to be any fairer than politicians. Yes, politicians can appoint hacks to courts, but if the judge turns out to deviate from his expected ideology, the governor can simply say “I didn’t see that coming.” It doesn’t always work, which is why right wingers are so adament about appointing “conservative justices.” But it would work better than a system in which the judge is no different than the politician, in which he runs a campaign and makes promises, plays constituencies against each other and lies.

Palmer is right. Maybe we are too stupid.

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4 Responses to “What do we do with Gableman?”

  1. Ryan Says:

    Electing judges is totally ridiculous because voters are totally uninformed about the intricacies about jurisprudence. Yes states with evil governors will appoint terrible judges. But at least you can hold a governor accountable for appointing a terrible judge, you can’t hold voters accountable for being stupid (and buying into that ridiculous “activist judges” meme)

  2. illusory tenant Says:

    “there haven’t been any recent updates on the ethics charges against him …”

    Well, Gableman’s First-Amendment-crusading lawyer, Jim Bopp, managed to put the kibosh on some freedom of information action in Washington State.

  3. scribblescribblescribble.com/blog » Keeping in mind that I know nothing about politics… Says:

    […] gut feeling about the fact that Wisconsin elects its judges (?!), a feeling shared by my wife and father-in-law and I imagine many other people, is that it’s […]

  4. rbrtdowney Says:


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