Stories & Columns

The Literary Divide: NCAA:
Nepotism in coaching across
by Dr. Paul Barrows

Poetic Tongues/Reflections of
by Fabu

La contienda presidencial
continua: Barack una caja vacia y
Hillary no se da por vencida,
por Alfonso Zepeda Capistran

The legacy of STAX Records and
Soulsville, USA,
by Jonathan Gramling

Bob Williams: Guardian of a King,
by Jonathan Gramling

Energy conservation did save her
by Jonathan Gramling

Asian Wisconzine: My Sheboygan
New Year,
by KaBao Lee

Simple Things: Great Society,
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

Voices: McKinney for a truly
singular moment toward change!
by Dr. Jean Daniels

Otis Redding: From Macon to,
by Jonathan Gramling

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
celebrates 100

Centerspread: STAX Museum of
American Soul Music

Editorial Staff

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Paul Barrows
Jean Daniels
Andrew Gramling
Lang Kenneth Haynes
Heidi M. Pascual
Laura Salinger
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran

©2008 The Capital City Hues
FEB. 21, 2008 ARCHIVES
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                The buying of elections
  While the Democratic presidential nomination contest has been particular exciting this year, with the nomination
of Hillary Clinton, who would be the first woman nominated by a major party or Barack Obama, who would be the first
African American nominated by a major party, in the balance, it is also pretty disturbing to see how much money is
being raised to run for president. According to the Center for Responsive Government, as of the end of January 2008,
Hillary Clinton has raised $134 million and Barack Obama has raised $138 million. Compare this to the 1976
presidential race when only $67 million in total was spent for the primary and general elections. The total for this
election cycle could approach $800 million.
  The large amounts of money spent on elections in Wisconsin have also begun to rise. According to Jeff Meyers of
the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, $8 million could be spent on this year’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race.
Approximately $5.8 million was spent in last year’s Supreme Court race, which was won by Judge Annette Zeigler, who
is generally considered to be a conservative.
   Historically, Wisconsin Supreme Court races were relatively low-spending, dignified affairs with the candidates
vying for newspaper editorial, state bar and lawyer endorsements. The races were about who had the best resume and
qualifications for the court, and not on speculation about where they would come out on a certain issue. But that is
certainly changing.
  Justice Louis Butler, the first African American to sit on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, is up for election this year
and he is being targeted by business, conservative and special interest groups with a lot of financial resources for
defeat. Consider this excerpt from the Wall Street Journal in an April 2007 article.
  “Several business groups active in the Ziegler victory will likely be back to take on Judge Butler, including
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which spent over $2.2 million on TV ads this year and widely distributed "A
Court Unbound?" a critique of its decisions by a prominent Wisconsin lawyer which was published by the Federalist
Society.” The Federalist Society includes in its membership many top officials in the Bush Administration.
  “A Court Unbound,” which has received a lot of distribution by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, features
Professor Rick Esenberg, a Marquette University Law School professor. Eisenberg had this to say on his conservative
Shark and Shepherd blog about Michelle Obama. “Some of my readers just can't understand why I would suggest that
Obama's supporters, and maybe even the Obamas, have a rather elevated view of their own importance and seem to
be suffering from an extended bout of political tachycardia … The evil geniuses have apparently gotten to Michelle
Obama who announced that, for the first time in her adult life, she is proud of her country because hope is making a
comeback. It's hard to know where to start with a statement like this. As politics, it is a breathtaking gaffe. For a
Harvard educated lawyer married to another, it suggests either a certain elitism ("hope" exists only for people like us)
or a petulant lack of gratitude.”
  Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is upset with Butler because they feel he comes down on the side of
plaintiffs too often against companies in liability cases. They feel the court has a 5-4 liberal majority and so they want
to back a conservative candidate against Butler in the coming April 1 general election to get a 5-4 conservative
majority, which they feel would come down on the side of companies in liability cases. With the Federalist Society
looming in the background, more than likely there will be out-of-state special interest money spent in the Supreme
Court race against Butler. Lots of special interest money.
  While I can’t say these interests are working against Butler’s election because of his race, Esenberg revealed in his
comments a certain level of racial insensitivity.
  Butler’s situation is almost mirrored in the newest John Grisham fictional novel called ‘The Appeal,’ in which
corporate interests field a candidate and pump a lot of money into a Mississippi Supreme Court race to create a
favorable court, which will hear pending liability case against the corporation, which would cost it hundreds of
millions of dollars.
  While Butler’s current election does not perfectly mirror the Grisham novel, it sure hits close to home. There is a real
danger that the current Wisconsin Supreme Court race will not be about who will make the better Supreme Court
justice, but will instead be about who will rule which way in particular cases. And in that kind of judicial race, it is the
big money that may end up buying the election. While some special interests may win in this kind of election,
Wisconsin’s judicial system and its sense of impartial justice — as well as the citizens of Wisconsin — will be the clear