Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Justice Gableman Takes Con Man Defense: What Constitutes a Lie?

The next time someone catches you in one of those "white lies," simply ask them to define what constitutes a lie.

Remember what the Center for Competitive Politics, a group "fighting against campaign restrictions" wrote: "A falsely flat statement in one person's eyes is a modest exaggeration in another person's eyes is the honest thruth in yet a third person's eyes."

That's the outragious defense of an outragiously partisan conservative activist justice on Wisconsin's Supreme Court. Justice (I'm using the term losely) Michael Gableman is using the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld defense; we can't be liable for the "incorrect inferences" people take away from what we tell them. Only a "law and order" conservative would try to get around the law. Republicans like Gableman argue all the time that we don't need more laws do to the fact that people will find legal ways around them anyway.

I feel uncomfortable having a Supreme Court Justice who doesn't know what constitutes a lie. That's something most of us learn by the end of elementary school.

The ethics case of state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman comes down to what constitutes a lie. Gableman is accused of lying about his opponent, then-Justice Louis Butler Jr., in a March 2008 TV ad ... Gableman contends his ad was truthful and that under the First Amendment he can't be held liable for incorrect inferences viewers might have taken from the ad.
The Ad says: "Butler found a loophole. Mitchell went on to molest another child."

What it didn't say was that while Butler prevailed before the appeals court, the Supreme Court ruled that Mitchell had to remain behind bars. He committed the subsequent crime only after he was released on parole.

The state Judicial Commission filed a complaint ... saying Gableman violated a provision of the state's judicial ethics code that bars judges from lying about political opponents. But Gableman argues the ad was true because it did not explicitly say that Butler's actions caused Mitchell's release. He can't control how viewers might interpret his ads, his lawyers have argued.

This is the thinking of our state supreme court justice. A snake oil salesman of the first order. To claim innocence, after designing an ad that purposely conveyed a specific implied message because that's what advertisers are hired to do, proves Gableman is thumbing his nose at the legal system while endorsing the best defence con men have to offer.

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