Thursday, February 28, 2019

State Supreme Court Race — Hagedorn's Bigotry Is More Troubling Than Neubauer's Faith In Science

If you view both candidates as "biased," surely one of their biases is worse than the other's.

There is a stark difference between supposed conflicts of interest held by the two candidates for state Supreme Court in this year's spring elections.
  • Liberal-leaning Lisa Neubauer reportedly attended a climate march, a political action to be sure, done in support of the scientific consensus that human-caused global warming is negatively impacting the world.

  • Conservative-leaning Brian Hagedorn's bigoted beliefs and actions in support of them have turned heads, and resulted in right-wing business groups denouncing him. He has financially supported a private school that discriminates against LGBT faculty and students (including inflicting punishments on them if their family members are gay). He has also accepted money from and spoke to a known hate group in recent years.
Both beliefs by the Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates are political, and represent actions taken by them that their ideological opposites find worrisome.

Yet in Neubauer's case, the action she took is grounded in scientific evidence. Climate change is real, and those still in denial about 1) its impact on the world, and 2) how humans are responsible for its exponential growth over the past several decades, are, to put it bluntly, wrong.

Could Neubauer have a conflict of interest in any case arising before her that has to do with the environment? It's possible.

But so too could Hagedorn have a conflict of interest when it comes to the rights and privileges that should inherently be recognized to an entire group of people.

Hagedorn has tried to defend his past comments chastising the LGBT community, in which he likened the legalization of gay relationships to bestiality. Attacks against those types of comments, he and his campaign have insisted, are attacks against Christianity itself, a notion that many Christians I know would not agree with.

But if he's so adamant about propagating his beliefs, perhaps Hagedorn ought to consider hanging up one set of robes for another, retiring from the judiciary and joining the clergy.

Ours is a government that must respect the rights and privileges of all, and not exclude those who we deem as "different" from societal privileges just because we don't like or live like them.

I remain unconvinced that Hagedorn's biases wouldn't influence him were he to get a seat on the state's highest court. And I do not view the biases of the two candidates as of their biases is clearly "worse" than the other.

If we must view both Hagedorn and Neubauer as conflicted, surely we should favor one over the other — and for me, the individual who stands beside reason and scientific inquiry, rather than the person who tries to defend their documented and frequent bigotry, will get my vote.

Featured image credit: Richard Hurd/Flickr

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