Prof. Monroe Freedman: Justice Gableman Should Have Recused Himself From Michael Best Case

Monroe H. Freedman, Professor of Law


State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman wrote an opinion last week that ruled against the client of a law firm that did not charge Gableman for two years of legal work.

The 4-3 decision is the first involving Michael Best & Friedrich since it became public last year that the firm did not require Gableman to pay for its services when it defended him against an ethics charge.

Gableman’s willingness to rule against Michael Best’s client “shows there’s no actual bias going on,” said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

But Monroe Freedman, a professor at Hofstra Law School in New York, said Gableman should have recused himself from the case and others involving clients of Michael Best because of his relationship with the firm.

“The outcome of the case is irrelevant because the action (to recuse) is supposed to be taken at the outset,” Freedman said.

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