In the April 1 election, Wisconsin voters will give Louis Butler or Michael Gableman a 10-year term on the state Supreme Court - a court that could decide such important future cases as the constitutionality of school-aid formulas and whether the state Constitution was legally rewritten to ban gay marriages.
As a result, the race has attracted the attention of third-party groups that will spend millions of dollars before it's over, hoping to sway voters with TV ads that have saturated the airwaves. On some key issues, the seat is viewed as one that could define the balance of the court.
The two have distinctly different ideas about the judiciary and the role of Supreme Court justices.
Butler touts experience as a judge, voting record on court and Law enforcement backing is centerpiece of Gableman run, both by Stacy Forster
In the Crossroads opinion section, People want public funding of court races by Mike McCabe is executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and Outside ads, messy as they are, give voters substance, by John Coleman, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Update: Voters urged to ignore ads in Supreme Court race by Scott Bauer, Associated Press, in the Wiscosin State Journal
...the race is seen as crucial to the future of the court and could tilt the ideological balance from a 4-3 liberal-leaning majority to a 4-3 conservative-leaning majority.
The court 's makeup will help decide how it rules on major cases in the coming years ...
Such cases could include a challenge to the state's new cap of $750,000 on medical malpractice damages, a lawsuit seeking benefits for the gay and lesbian partners of public employees and a case seeking to bar the transfer of $200 million from a state malpractice fund for other purposes.
Update 2: Ask questions in this high-stakes state Supreme Court race, op-ed by Tim Casey and Katie Longley, The Daily Telegram, Superior, March 22, 2008
Update 3: Supreme Court candidate questionnaires
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sent a questionnaire to candidates for state Supreme Court.
Louis Butler (inc.) and Michael Gableman
Their answers will be used by the editorial board when it decides which candidates to endorse for the April 1 election.