Supreme Court

Former justices

Louis J. Butler, Jr. (1952- )

Louis B. Butler Jr.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (2004-2008)

Justice Butler was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Jim Doyle in August 2004, becoming the first African-American Supreme Court justice in Wisconsin history. He stood for election to a 10-year term of office in April 2008 and was defeated by Justice Michael J. Gableman.

Born in Chicago, Justice Butler was raised on the city's south side. He earned his bachelor's degree from Lawrence University in Appleton in 1973 and his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1977.

After serving as an assistant state public defender from 1979 to 1992, Justice Butler was appointed to the Milwaukee Municipal Court. He served as a municipal judge until 2002, when he was elected to Branch 9 of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Justice Butler is the recipient of numerous awards. In 2006, he was named "Humanitarian of the Year" by the American Federation of Teachers, Local 212. In 2005, he won the NAACP Foot Soldiers’ Award and the Outstanding Citizen's Award from the Wisconsin Council of Deliberations, Prince Hall Masons. He also received the 2002 and 2004 Trail Blazer Award presented by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Justice Butler is a permanent member of the faculty of the National Judicial College in Reno, where judges from around nation take continuing education classes, and serves as a member of the bench in the Southwestern Law School Moot Court Competition in Los Angeles. He also was an adjunct assistant professor of law at Marquette Law School. Justice Butler is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Bar Association, NAACP, Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers, Community Brainstorming Conference, Personnel Review Board, and James E. Doyle Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

Justice Butler is married with two daughters and two grandchildren.

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