Speaking at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the Nomination of Justice Louis B. Butler, Jr. to be to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin, Sen. Russ Feingold issued the following statement:
“Louis Butler, a former justice on Wisconsin’s highest court, has been appointed by President Obama to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin. Justice Butler was born and raised in Chicago, he earned his B.A. from Lawrence University in 1973, and his J.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School in 1977. He was awarded an honorary Ph.D. in Humanities from his alma mater, Lawrence University, in 2007. During his career, Butler has served as an advocate, a teacher, a judge, and a mentor. In the words of President Obama, Butler ‘has dedicated his career to public service,’ and ‘he has displayed unwavering integrity and an unyielding commitment to justice.’ Upon his nomination, Justice Butler received a unanimous ‘Well Qualified’ rating from the American Bar Association.
“Justice Butler has had an impressive legal career, beginning in 1979 when he joined the office of the Wisconsin State Public Defender. While working for the Appellate Division of that office, he was the first Wisconsin Assistant State Public Defender to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court. In 1992, Justice Butler was appointed to the Milwaukee Municipal Court. For 10 years he took pride in working as a judge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest and most diverse metropolitan area, and was reelected three times. In 2002, he was elected to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Two years later, Governor Jim Doyle appointed him to fill a vacancy on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where he served with distinction until 2008.
“Justice Butler’s appointment marked an important moment in Wisconsin history, since he became the first African American to serve on the court. Because of his background, he brought a unique perspective to the court. But he recognized that his overriding goal should be, as he put it, to ‘treat every litigant fairly and equally, and apply the law without bias in a neutral, detached, impartial and independent manner.”