It was just another example of the ridiculousness of former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman's so-called investigation of Wisconsin's 2020 presidential election.

Even a shameless partisan like Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who has engineered this sham, ought to be embarrassed. But, not surprisingly, he goes on ignoring Gableman's incompetence that has now become a joke, not to mention a colossal waste of taxpayers' money.

Gableman's latest blunder, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Patrick Marley, is sending subpoenas to Madison and Green Bay election officials demanding that they send him voting machine serial numbers, information about software updates and communications with Dominion Voting Systems.

One big problem, neither city uses Dominion's machines.

Further, Marley reported, of the 19 Wisconsin counties that do use Dominion's hardware, Donald Trump won 17.

As with earlier subpoenas issued by Gableman, the paper's political reporter added, the latest ones include errors. Gableman's team misspelled the name of Celestine Jeffreys, the city clerk in Green Bay, and included the wrong first name for David Schmiedicke, Madison's finance director. When Gableman admitted after Vos appointed him that he didn't understand how elections work, he obviously wasn't lying.

That's all on top of a series of laughable gaffs from the guy who has been charged with recommending changes in the way Wisconsin municipalities conduct elections.

He's sent letters to officials in Racine, Madison, Milwaukee and Kenosha requesting information … about the election in Green Bay. Then clerks in several municipalities received subpoenas asking for information, much of which was already public information, available on the clerks’ website.

Dane County's clerk, Scott McDonnell, suggested that all Gableman needed to do was “just ask for it.”

Then Gableman asked a judge to jail the mayors of Madison and Green Bay if they don't agree to interviews with him. The mayors pointed out they would gladly appear at a public meeting with him, but not to some secret private location that Gableman had selected.

Then there was his outlandish performance at a legislative public hearing in which he berated a legislator for having the audacity to ask him questions.

What's so startling is that this man was a justice on the state's highest court, promoted and financed by the state's biggest business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the Republican Party and outside conservative interests more interested in electing a partisan hack who would see things their way than a principled arbitrator of the law.

His election in 2008 was one of the first successes in a new trend by wealthy special interests to direct campaign contributions to state judiciary races. After the U.S. Supreme Court's "Citizen's United" decision, the spigots were opened to massive campaign dollars. Many conservative foundations and front groups viewed it as an easier way to gain control than trying to constantly elect friendly governors or legislators.

Gableman's 2008 campaign against Wisconsin first Black justice was so full of false advertisements and filled with racial innuendo that the Wisconsin Judicial Commission brought ethics charges against him. He also came under fire for refusing to recuse himself from cases involving some of his biggest campaign contributors, including WMC.

His fellow conservatives on the state's high court saved him.

Actually, Robin Vos may have done us all a favor by picking Gableman to run this Donald Trump-inspired attack on the integrity of our elections. It clearly shows what a fraud this Donald Trump-inspired attack on the integrity really is, but it also opens a window to our Supreme Court.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com, 608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.  

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