A headline in this morning's print edition of the Wisconsin State Journal says "Judges: Gableman TV ads OK."
It's hard to reach that conclusion if you actually read the "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Recommendation" issued yesterday by the three-judge Judicial Conduct Panel that reviewed the judicial misconduct complaint against state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman.
Two of the three judges said the ad in question was plainly misleading with one calling it "deserving of condemnation" but both concluded Gableman could not be punished for it under the state Judicial Code of Conduct because none of the statements in the ad taken alone was objectively false. The third judge disagreed, arguing the whole ad did amount to an outright lie, but nevertheless agreed that the complaint against Gableman should be dismissed because, in his view, the section of the judicial ethics code under which Gableman was charged with judicial misconduct is unconstitutional.
While arguing that a "strict and narrow construction of the reach of the first sentence of SCR 60.06(3)(c)" required the three-judge panel to recommend that the state Judicial Commission's complaint against Gableman be dismissed, Reserve Judge David Deininger wrote: "It is more than a bit ironic that Justice Gableman has been represented in this matter by an able lawyer who, it might be argued, 'found a loophole.'"
Ironic because Gableman's ad said "Louis Butler worked to put criminals on the street. Like Reuben Lee Mitchell, who raped an 11-year-old girl with learning disabilities. Butler found a loophole. Mitchell went on to molest another child."