Courts in the balance

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

scalesThe U.S. Supreme Court isn’t the only one traversing hazardous ground.  Wisconsin’s highest court could see its nominally Conservative majority diminished this April.

There’s no mystery about which direction the character of the Wisconsin Court would move if Joanne Kloppenburg unseats Justice Bradley—the constitutionalist Rebecca Bradley, not the Liberal Ann Walsh Bradley—April 5.

Kloppenburg has never let reluctance to prejudge cases impede her pursuit of a seat on the state Supreme Court.  The intent to overturn Conservative reforms like the Act 10 government union smackdown was openly understood to be the whole reason for her initial candidacy in 2011.

A scarcely noticed development Monday confirmed what’s on offer with the 2016 Kloppenburg candidacy. It goes far beyond any ambition to reverse precedent and undo Act 10. It’s the opening salvo in a longer-term effort to roll the clock back to 2004 when Wisconsin’s Court was one of the nation’s craziest. On Monday, the Kloppenburg campaign received the endorsement of former state Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler.

Butler’s career is a story of taking the legal system where voters don’t want it to go. He lost badly to a Conservative opponent in a 2000 Supreme Court candidacy but was appointed to the Court in 2004 by Liberal Governor Jim Doyle. He was then defeated in 2008 by another Conservative opponent. As an Obama nominee for a federal judgeship, Butler was thrice denied confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Why all these rejections?

His Supreme Court tenure was crucial to goofball leftist rulings like holding manufacturers liable for consumer injuries even without evidence they made the offending product, and tilting search-and-seizure rules to favor criminal defendants. That was the Wisconsin Court before voters said enough is enough.

His endorsement of Kloppenburg says it all.

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