Monday, March 28, 2016

AUDIO: Vote for Kloppenburg for State Supreme Court, reject Bradley on April 5

Kloppenburg has shown she should hold the position that Bradley currently has

Click the play button to hear my commentary. Text of commentary appears below.

Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg should be granted the opportunity to serve on the State Supreme Court. She has demonstrated, through more than two decades of working as an assistant Attorney General under both parties, that she has an in-depth knowledge of our state’s laws. With that type of background alone, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with more experience to serve on the court.

But of course, Kloppenburg can also claim judicial experience as well. She has served for more than three years as a Court of Appeals judge, winning election to office to fill that role, and writing several opinions for the cases that landed before her and her peers.

While also able to brag about a stellar career, Rebecca Bradley, the current incumbent justice on the Supreme Court that Kloppenburg is trying to unseat, can only boast incumbent status because she was appointed to the role. In fact, she’s been appointed to every judgeship she’s held, this being her third appointment by Gov. Scott Walker to a judicial placement in the last three years.

Her resume isn’t as impressive as Kloppenburg’s is either. It is impressive, to be sure, but if you’re looking purely at experience, Kloppenburg beats Bradley out by a landslide.

This is most noticeable when you seek out the two candidates’ judicial philosophies. Kloppenburg provides a reasoned answer to what her philosophy is, juxtaposing her prose with cases she’s written the opinions on in order to supplement her larger points. Rebecca Bradley, on the other hand, has a judicial philosophy that looks like it could have been written by an eighth grader who skimmed the required reading the night before and typed something up in ten minutes or less, just hoping to get a passing grade. The two paragraphs she provides us with on her website fail to inspire, to put it more delicately.

All of this is even before we take into consideration Bradley’s past writings. As a college undergrad, Bradley wrote a plethora of student columns and op-eds that aimed to denigrate the gay and lesbian community on her campus, arguing that she would never feel sorry for those afflicted with HIV or AIDS. She also lashed out at feminists and liberals in general.

She has apologized for those remarks, and I believe that she truly is sorry for having written them. People can change, and I’m hopeful that Bradley has. But her writings didn’t stop in 1992 -- they continued into the 2000s, and much of what she wrote then has me questioning whether she’s suitable for the job she currently holds.

Bradley, for example, wrote that she believed pharmacists had a right to deny women contraceptives on account of such medication being tantamount to abortion in her mind, a notion that study after study after study has discredited. She also joined two other legal minds in penning an op-ed that argued candidates for the state’s highest court had a right to lie or mislead constituents while campaigning, which brings into question her character as a candidate herself.

On experience, Kloppenburg is the better of the two. She’s also the preferable choice when it comes to temperament and the ability to remain impartial. Kloppenburg, as I’ve already pointed out, has been able to work with Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives. I have no doubts in my mind that she’ll be able to do so as a justice on the Supreme Court as well.

There are doubts, however, when it comes to Rebecca Bradley. These doubts cannot be overlooked -- the code of conduct for judges in Wisconsin even advises that the perception of a judge being unable to carry out their duties is enough to warrant concern -- and many do perceive Bradley to be incapable of being impartial, especially given her previous writings and more recent conduct.

Vote for JoAnne Kloppenburg for Supreme Court Justice on Tuesday April 5th. It will be a vote to restore integrity to Wisconsin’s highest judicial authority.

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