A host of dignitaries from Wisconsin's judicial and faith communities were on hand Friday, for the official investiture of Justice Michael Gableman to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. A choral group, accompanied by a string section, performed before retired Justice Donald Steinmetz delivered the oath of office to Gableman. Speakers included Steinmetz, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison.
The state's newest justice offered a prayer, "that the almighty and all merciful God . . . grant to me the ability to discern the true path of glory, and the courage to take that path."
It's a path with an obstacle. Gableman still faces a misconduct complaint from the Wisconsin Judicial Commission. The complaint claims that Gableman violated an ethics, rule when his campaign ran a TV ad which made misleading claims about his opponent, Justice Louis Butler. Robert Kraig is with Citizen Action of Wisconsin , the group which originated the complaint. "I think in order to turn this around, there needs to be punishment, enough to deter any future candidate from doing this" said Kraig. "This at least needs to be a substantial suspension. We honestly believe that removal from the bench should be looked at."
Gableman is a self described judicial conservative, a philosophy borne out in his remarks Friday. "While it is important to give thorough consideration to new ideas and new interpretations of the law, it is incumbent upon a court to retain a fundamental respect for the wisdom of the ages."
The wisdom of Gableman approving that controversial campaign ad will be considered by a three judge panel appointed by the Judicial Commission. "For Wisconsin to become well known for this kind of reprehensible Willy Horton-like ad . . . by a supreme court judge . . .is very disappointing," said Kraig.
Gableman told reporters following Friday's ceremony that it was not the appropriate time or place to comment on the complaint.