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Examiner - "Gableman terms Supreme Court race as one of stark contrasts"

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Location: Milwaukee, WI

Examiner - "Gableman terms Supreme Court race as one of stark contrasts"

Michael Gableman described his campaign against Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler on Wednesday as one of sharp contrasts in backgrounds and judicial philosophy.

"I'm a judicial conservative. He's a judicial activist. I was a longtime prosecutor. He was a longtime criminal defense attorney," the Burnett County Circuit Court judge said as the two took part in a forum held by the Milwaukee Bar Association for the April 1 election.

Butler said that there was nothing wrong with having been a defense attorney, since those who serve in that capacity are an important part of the court system.

"What he really means is that he disagrees with the opinions of the court," the justice said.

Gableman said Butler "has a consistent track record of siding with the criminals and the criminal defendants. "

"I will give a fair application to the plain language of the law," the challenger said.

Butler said the court bases its decisions on the facts of the law.

"I don't come up with a result and figure out how to get there," he said.

Butler contended Gableman was "blatantly and knowingly" misrepresenting facts and besmirching the "dignity" of the job.

Butler said Gableman had stated that the justice has sided with criminals 60 percent of the time. Butler said his review of all cases since he joined the bench found he upheld criminal convictions 75 percent of the time.

Gableman said the 60 percent figure came from a study by an outside group.

"I don't know if the number is 30 percent, 60 percent, 80 percent or 90 percent," he said. "I'm unaware of any study that contradicts those numbers."

Both candidates were critical of advertisements run by independent groups in the Supreme Court campaign.

Gableman evoked an image from one of them when he joked: "Many of you may have difficulty without my head moving up and down in a rhythmic, some may say bobblehead fashion."

Butler said neither he nor his opponent have the capability of matching the spending that the independent groups have spent on the ads.

"Let the candidates run their own campaign," he said.

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