President Obama has again nominated former State Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler to a federal judgeship in Madison. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has endorsed the Butler appointment three times – but the full Senate has never voted on it.
Last month, Republican and Democratic leaders agreed to hold up action on Butler and three other controversial nominees for judgeships, so 19 others could be confirmed. But Lynn Becker of Senator Herb Kohl’s office said the deal was only good until the previous session ended last month. And she said Obama was expected to appoint Butler again to the judgeship vacated by John Shabaz in 2009.
Democrats call Butler a thoughtful jurist, while Republicans slam him for legislating from the bench. Butler is the only incumbent Supreme Court justice since 1967 to be removed by the voters – and House Republican Jim Sensenbrenner said he should not be rewarded for that by getting what he calls a lifetime promotion. Butler now teaches law at UW Madison.
Also Tuesday, Obama appointed UW Madison law professor Victoria Nourse to the federal appeals court in Chicago for the second time. She would replace Terence Evans, who moved to a part-time senior status.