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AP - "Gableman, Butler clash at Supreme Court election forum"

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Location: Dodgeville, WI

AP - "Gableman, Butler clash at Supreme Court election forum"

Burnett County Circuit Judge Michael Gableman said at an election forum that the reason he entered the race for the state Supreme Court was because of what he saw as a pattern of decisions influenced by personal opinion.

"People have to be confident that as judges and justices we're not going to make the law, we're going to apply it," Gableman said Sunday at the forum sponsored by the Iowa County Bar Association and Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin, a southwestern Wisconsin group that calls itself progressive and encourages political participation.

"Any substantive changes in the law ought to come from the legislative process," he added.

Gableman said he would apply the plain language of the law.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler said his judicial philosophy is to uphold the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions and hold wrongdoers responsible.

Any suggestions that he makes decisions based on personal preference or ideology are false, Butler said.

"I have been campaigning against judges doing that since long before I was on the bench," he said. "A judge's responsibility is to interpret and apply the law, not make it."

Gableman said the fact that third-party groups have been running a number of ads concerning the April 1 court election should put people on "high alert."

"Both the candidates in this race as well as the citizens of this great state may be best served by these third party groups taking their interests elsewhere," he said.

Butler, who asked third party groups to stay out of the race, called the ads part of a "misleading, dishonest and sleazy" campaign and said Gableman should do more to repudiate them.

"This race goes to the integrity of the justice system of the state of Wisconsin," Butler said. "While the other groups may have a constitutional right to express their point of view, I don't think they should do it in an untruthful, false way."

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