THE 30-SECOND TV SPOT is stark and brutal. First it shows the bespectacled face of candidate Louis Butler, then a grainy mug shot of an ex-con. "Louis Butler worked to put criminals on the street," the narrator warns, "like Reuben Lee Mitchell, who raped an 11-year-old girl with learning disabilities." After Mitchell's release from prison, the narrator continues, he raped again. "Can Wisconsin families feel safe with Louis Butler?" This attack ad wasn't from a bitterly fought congressional race. It was from a 2008 campaign for state Supreme Court justice—a position that until recently was considered above the fray of partisan politics.
IN 2005, THE WITHERSPOON SCHOOL of Law and Public Policy held a conference in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The school’s name was something of a misnomer: Rather than grant JDs, Witherspoon staged seminars and lectures offering lessons in what it summarized as “the comprehensive biblical foundation for our common law and constitutional government.” Its target audience was homeschooled young men. The school itself was a project of Vision Forum, a Texas-based ministry whose founder was also a leader in the Christian Patriarchy movement, which preaches, among other things, that husbands should vote for their wives.
A federal judge in Louisiana has upheld the state's ban on gay marriage. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman's ruling on Wednesday was the first defeat in a federal court for same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the U.S. government cannot deny equal benefits to married gay couples. "The Court finds that defendants in this passionately charged national issue have the more persuasive argument. The State of Louisiana has a legitimate interest under a rational basis standard of review for addressing the meaning of marriage through the democratic process," Feldman wrote.
On Wednesday, US District Judge Rudolph Randa issued a ruling halting an investigation into alleged illegal coordination between the conservative political group Wisconsin Club for Growth and the campaign of Governor Scott Walker. The ruling was immediately dubbed “extraordinary” by legal experts, not least because not only did Randa stop a state investigation into alleged coordination, he ordered that the evidence collected so far be destroyed—a move that was immediately reversed by a federal appeals court.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday took the rare step of ordering a review of a powerful federal judge accused of making denigrating statements against minorities and people with mental disabilities.