On Oct. 1, the president nominated Louis Butler, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, to the U.S. District Court of his state's Western District. While Mr. Butler's resume is in order, his appreciation of a judge's proper role seems lacking.
Mr. Butler is such a judicial activist that Wisconsin voters rejected his state high court candidacy both times they had a chance to weigh in. In 2000, as a Milwaukee trial court judge, he lost his race for the Supreme Court by a whopping 2-1 margin. Liberal Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle appointed him to the court anyway four years later to fill a vacancy, but Mr. Butler didn't last long. Eighteen months ago, the first time Mr. Butler appeared on the ballot again, voters summarily dumped him after a high-profile race in which he was criticized for being far too liberal even for his state, which hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984. It was the first time in more than four decades that an incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court justice had been defeated for re-election.
Wisconsin voters knew what they were doing.
Indeed. In one case decided by Judge Butler, he held paint manufacturers liable for injuries that a plaintiff "may or may not" have suffered:
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