While Sen. Ted Cruz’s won a critical win last night in the Badger State, it was also a good night for Republicans at the state level. While not as widely reported as the Cruz/Trump blood sports over the Republican nomination for president, a Wisconsin Supreme Court race was also on the ballot, where once again conservatives triumphed.
Last fall, Gov. Scott Walker appointed 44-year old Rebecca Bradley to assume the seat vacated by the late Justice N. Patrick Crooks, who passed away last September. She successfully won a 10-year term to the bench last night, but not after facing a challenge from liberal judge JoAnne Kloppenburg; Kloppenburg also ran against conservative Justice David Prosser in 2011, which was seen as a gauge as to whether Walker’s reforms (ACT 10) regarding collective bargaining rights with public sector unions would survive. She lost that election as well.
The race was not without its moments in the dirt. Bradley’s opinions during her college years were brought into the sunlight, having written some rather inflammatory articles in the student newspaper when she attended Marquette University. She wrote that AIDS patients deserve no sympathy, labeled homosexuals “queers,” and drug addicts “degenerates.” She also said she holds (gasp!) anti-feminist opinions. Walker insisted that he didn’t know about her columns in the student paper upon her appointment, but added that it’s rather obvious Bradley’s views had changed. Bradley offered numerous apologies when her past writings, published almost 25 years ago, became a subject on the campaign trial (via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):
In one piece, she wrote people would be better off getting AIDS than cancer under Clinton because it would get more funding.
"How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments," wrote Bradley, who then had the last name of Grassl.
GOP Gov. Scott Walker acknowledged Monday he was not aware of her Marquette University writings before he appointed her three times to judicial positions. He said it was clear her views had changed.
Bradley declined an interview request, but in a written statement said she was embarrassed about the pieces she wrote "as a very young student, upset about the outcome of that presidential election" in 1992, when Clinton first won the presidency.
"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," her statement said. "These comments have nothing to do with who I am as a person or a jurist, and they have nothing to do with the issues facing the voters of this state."
But at the time she wrote for the Marquette Tribune, she relished taking a controversial stance.
In a column that appeared soon after Clinton was elected, she wrote: "Either you condone drug use, homosexuality, AIDS-producing sex, adultery and murder and are therefore a bad person, or you didn't know that he supports abortion on demand and socialism, which means you are dumb. Have I offended anyone? Good — some of you really need to wake up."
Calling Clinton a murderer because of his support for abortion rights, she wrote that anyone who voted for him was "obviously immoral."
The column and letters to the editor include these statements:
¦ "Perhaps AIDS Awareness should seek to educate us with their misdirected compassion for the degenerates who basically commit suicide through their behavior."
¦ "But the homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy."
¦ "This brings me to my next point — why is a student government on a Catholic campus attempting to bring legitimacy to an abnormal sexual preference?"
¦ "Heterosexual sex is very healthy in a loving martial relationship. Homosexual sex, however, kills."
¦ "I will certainly characterize whomever transferred their infected blood (to a transfusion recipient) a homosexual or drug-addicted degenerate and a murderer."
¦ "We've just had an election (in 1992) which proves the majority of voters are either totally stupid or entirely evil."
¦ Clinton "supports the Freedom of Choice Act, which will allow women to mutilate and dismember their helpless children through their ninth month of pregnancy. Anyone who could consciously vote for such a murderer is obviously immoral."
So, I guess you can see how this could potentially be some lethal political ammunition for progressives to use against Bradley, but it wasn’t enough to sink her. Bradley won decisively over Kloppenburg 52/47. The Wisconsin Supreme Court now has a 5-2 conservative majority, though some noted that this race could have been a bit more competitive if Election Day didn’t fall on the same day as the 2016 primary, which saw a boost in GOP turnout, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Nevertheless, a win is a win–and the shadow of Scott Walker looms large even after his unsuccessful presidential bid. No doubt he’ll probably revisit that venture at a later date, but for now, he could be looking to run for another term as governor. For now, it also shows you that local and state elections are just as critical.