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Butler nominated by Obama for third time



Milwaukee (AP) – President Barack Obama has again nominated former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis B. Butler Jr. for a federal judgeship.

The White House said Wednesday that for the third time, Obama has sent Butler’s name to the U.S. Senate as his nominee to become a federal district judge for western Wisconsin.

For two years in a row, the Senate’s Republican minority has blocked a floor vote on Butler and some other Obama judicial nominees.

Then-Gov. Jim Doyle appointed Butler to the state Supreme Court in 2004, but he was defeated by Michael Gableman in a statewide election.

The Journal Sentinel reports some, such as U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, say a judge who lost a statewide election shouldn’t be compensated with a lifetime appointment.

Butler now teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

One comment

  1. Good for President Obama, and for Wisconsin. Butler will make a terrific District Court judge.

    The suggestion by Jim Sensenbrenner and others that a judge who doesn’t win a statewide election should not be appointed to the federal court is dishonest at best. First, the margin between Butler and now-Justice Gableman was 51% to 49% out of a turnout of only 19% of the eligible voters. Being “rejected” by 10% of the eligible voters hardly makes someone incompetent to serve as a federal judge. I also do not recall any of Wisconsin’s current federal judge’s having run in a statewide race, let alone won one. Indeed, although they are all fine jurists, it is highly unlikely that any of them would have succeeded in such a race prior to their appointments to the federal bench.

    Second, losing an election, statewide or otherwise, does not signify incompetence, or evenrejection by those who voted for his opponent. It merely means that the 10% of the eligible voters who voted for his opponent preferred his opponent for that particular position. Indeed, it is possible that more people voted against Sensenbrenner in recent elections than actually voted against Butler. Does that make Sensenbrenner incompetent to hold his current office? Of course not.

    Finally, it should be noted that Butler has served as a municipal or circuit court judge or state Supreme Court justice for 16 years, and thus has more judicial experience than ANY of Wisconsin’s current district court judges had at the time of their appointment to the federal court.

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