After two failed nominations to the federal bench, attorneys and judges in the Western District of Wisconsin are wondering if the third time is the charm for Louis Butler.
Butler was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, for a third time, by a 12-7 vote during a meeting on Sept. 23. Dawn Schueller, a spokeswoman for Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), said that due to a crowded floor schedule, there is no guarantee a confirmation vote by the full Senate will take place before it adjourns in advance of the elections.
It has been almost three years since Judge John C. Shabaz held his last court hearing and in that time the district, known for its efficiency, has been able to absorb the absence with minimal disruption. But there is concern that the prolonged vacancy will eventually catch up to the court. Madison attorney Lester A. Pines said it is “preposterous” that the former state Supreme Court Justice has not been confirmed and the delay is putting an unnecessary strain on the district.
For a look at the issues surrounding the vacancy and Butler’s repeated nominations, see the Sept. 27 issue of the Wisconsin Law Journal.