Monday, March 21, 2016

Rebecca Bradley's radio ad featuring Sheriff Clarke creates more doubts about her impartiality

Bradley's campaign props up an anti-gay conservative voice following controversial comments from Bradley's past resurfacing

“To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview.”

That was part of the apology that state Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley made after it came out that she had written derogatory and offensive comments while she was an undergrad student at Marquette University.

The writings, made more than two decades ago, revealed a younger and decidedly less mature Bradley (nee Grassl) who had terrifying views of homosexuals, and liberalism in general. Here’s some examples of what she wrote:
  • "Heterosexual sex is very healthy in a loving marital relationship. Homosexual sex, however, kills".
  • [Referring to Bill Clinton] "We have now elected a tree-hugging, baby-killing, pot-smoking, flag-burning, queer-loving, bull-spouting ‘60s radical socialist adulterer to the highest office in our nation. ... We’ve just had an election which proves the majority of voters are either totally stupid or entirely evil."
  • [Referring to victims of HIV/AIDS] "How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments."
  • "[T]he homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy."
The writings left many questioning whether Bradley could be impartial, to liberals or gay and lesbian couples, in the eyes of the Supreme Court with her as part of it. In her many apologies since those writings came to light, Bradley has made it her goal to demonstrate that those were her ideas from 24 years ago -- not reflective of her worldview today. The biggest defense from those supporting her is that “people can change,” and that it’s ridiculous to hold someone to a standard that they espoused from years ago.

Maybe that’s true. Maybe Bradley’s opinions have changed. But when we focus on the company she keeps, it reveals a different story.

Bradley enlisted one of her prime endorsements, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, to do a radio ad for her. Clarke, himself an outspoken and controversial conservative, starts out the ad by saying, “I know a little something about what it’s like when the big money liberal elites come gunning for you.”

So wait -- the conservative response on Bradley’s writings trashing liberals in the 1990s is that they’re supposedly from a time when she was younger, and we shouldn’t pay them any attention. But in her radio ad, in the very first line of that ad, a key endorsement goes on to talk bad about liberals.

This is precisely why the left questions whether Bradley is sincere or not in her apologies, and why more Wisconsinites in general should question them as well. She speaks on how embarrassed she was about her previous writings, and how they’re not reflective of her character any longer.

But then an ad, which is put out by her very campaign, goes on to badmouth liberals and talk about how they’re “gunning” to get her. Is she embarrassed by that? Probably not -- but they’re essentially the same sentiment.

A justice of the highest court in our state needs to be impartial. It’s written in our state’s code of conduct for judges that even the semblance of partisanship or favoritism should be avoided in how a judge conducts themself in public. The tone of this ad makes it doubtful that Bradley could be impartial toward liberal litigants that stand before her.

What’s more, as One Wisconsin Now points out, Sheriff Clarke is very outspoken on issues of homosexuality -- not twenty years ago, but presently making assertions that conservatives need to fight back against same-sex marriage and rights for gays and lesbians (emphases in bold added):
After the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Clarke took to social media to post, “Next is rage, then revolt.” Not content to stop there, Clarke in a media interview pondered, “… who would have thought that in the 21st century homosexuality would come out of the closet and churches would be forced to go into the closet?” and opined, “If we don’t resist, we can see what is happening before our eyes …” It was also reported that in his radio show he advocated for, “pitchforks and torches” and that, “If you call yourself an American, then you have to start a revolution in this country after what happened last week at the United States Supreme Court”...
Bradley has apologized for her contentious writings, but when called out for the remarks of her supporter David Clarke, she said she doesn’t need to issue any sort of apology on his behalf. In a recent debate responding to Clarke’s remarks she stated, “I couldn’t possibly agree with everything all my supporters believe,” implying that his views on homosexuality aren’t at issue here.

But they are important, especially given the uncertainty on how unprejudiced she really can be on gay rights. Her campaign, itself embroiled with questions about impartiality on LGBT issues, propped up a supporter in a radio ad who regularly spouts off violent rhetoric in response to those very same issues. And we’re supposed to ignore that?

Shrugging this off implies one of three things: 1) that Bradley is ignorant of the connection, 2) that she just doesn’t care enough to address it, or 3) that she’s hoping to exploit it for her own gain. Either way, it should make Wisconsin voters question whether she’s fit for the position she’s running for.


  1. I wish that someone would ask her to square the idea that "people change" with her governor/patron's refusal to consider ANY pardons while in office.

  2. The link is dead. Any one have a copy?

    1. That's odd...funny that the post is gone, huh?

      Here's the original YouTube link:

      And here's the release from the Bradley campaign: