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Public Financing Comes to Wisconsin Supreme Court

Prompted by escalating campaign spending and the increasing use of attack ads, Wisconsin state legislators and Gov. Jim Doyle have enacted a bill to provide public financing for the Supreme Court’s candidates.
Would-be justices would qualify for the funds by agreeing to limit spending and by raising small sums totaling between $5,000 and $15,000 from 1,000 different contributors. They could then receive up to $100,000 for a primary race and up to $300,000 for a general election – which,

Judge’s Attack Ad Draws Complaint

Last spring’s Supreme Court race in Wisconsin featured some ugly ads, so ugly that we wrote about the false or misleading claims in them several times. Now, one of the worst of those spots (in our humble opinion) is the subject of a complaint by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission. The proceedings could alter the tenor of ads used in Wisconsin court races.
The ad was sponsored by the campaign of a lower court judge, Mike Gableman,

Winning Ugly in Wisconsin

Summary
In a Wisconsin throwdown, incumbent Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler narrowly lost his reelection bid after being hit with a barrage of deceptive attack ads. We’ve written about some of them in recent weeks.
 
Attack ads targeting the incumbent heavily outnumbered attacks aimed at the business-backed winner, Circuit Court Judge Mike Gableman. In the closing days of the campaign the ratio was roughly 2 to 1.
 
A misleading attack ad that ran hundreds of times implied that the incumbent overturned a murder conviction despite overwhelming evidence of the convicted man’s guilt.

Wisconsin Judgment Day, the Sequel

In this second of our “Court Watch” series, we return to what’s become a racially charged campaign in Wisconsin to replace Louis Butler, the only black justice on the state Supreme Court, with a white, business-backed lower court judge, Mike Gableman. We look at two ads that attack Butler and find both to be misleading.

Judgment Day in Wisconsin

Summary

Some of the hardest fought campaigns in 2008 will be to determine who sits on the highest courts in a number of states, courts where the stakes can be billions of dollars for corporations and insurance companies; millions in fees for trial lawyers; compensation for those who have been injured by negligence; or the liberty of individuals who have been convicted, rightly or wrongly, of crimes. In the past, some of those who would be state supreme court judges,