After the developments of this week, I'm absolutely convinced that elections have become an inappropriate way to select Supreme Court Justices in Wisconsin. The elections are too partisan and the politics are too dirty. This no way to choose the most impartial and fairest justices for the court. Here is my cartoon:
This week, the winner of this April's Wisconsin Supreme Court election, Michael Gableman, was charged with violating his judicial oath of the office to uphold the truth for a dishonest ad his campaign produced. In the ad, Gableman accused the incumbent, Louis Butler, of finding a loophole that set free a convicted child rapist he was representing as a public defender in the 1980s. Gableman's ad points out that the perpetatrator raped another child after he was released from prison.
The ad was dishonest because Butler's "loophole" didn't have any affect on the case and the molester was let out prison on parole, after he served his term, not on some technicality.
Anyone who follows the Wisconsin Supreme Court should be shocked by the trend that is developing. The last two Judges elected to the court have been charged with judicial misconduct. Annette Ziegler, who elected the year before Gableman joined the court, was reprimanded for her ethical violations last year, for refusing to recues herself from cases involving a bank where her husband was a board member. (here is my cartoon on that).
We need a new way to select justices in this state. Only 20% of the electorate showed up to elect Gableman in April. That's not the democratic power of the people. The the power of the loudest and most partisan minority. If Wisconsinites continue to remain apathetic and ignorant about what make a good Supreme Court Justice, then they should forfeit their vote.
We need a system that will take into account a candidates judicial philosophy and impartiality, not their political connections. It's time for some kind of merit selection in Wisoconsin, where an impartial committee, made up lawyers, retired judges and members of both parties select justices.