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Gov. Walker Appoints Bradley To State Supreme Court

Conservative Appeals Judge To Fill Crooks' Vacancy

Gilman Halsted/WPR

Gov. Scott Walker has appointed Appeals Court Judge Rebecca Bradley to fill the seat of former Supreme Court Justice Patrick Crooks until a new justice is elected in April.

Crooks died suddenly last month just a week after he had announced he would not run for re-election. Bradley launched her campaign for the seat the following week.

At a news conference Friday, Walker said he appointed Bradley because he believes she has the experience and integrity to uphold the constitution.

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“I believe she’s the best person to be on the bench today, and I believe next April she’ll be the best person to be on the Supreme Court,” he said. “I’m not making a political endorsement at this time, but I wouldn’t put somebody on the bench that I didn’t think belonged there.”

Standing beside Walker and Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, Bradley said the governor’s appointment won’t necessarily give her an unfair advantage over her two opponents in the race.

“I think when the voters are evaluating judicial candidates, they look less at who’s appointed them and they look at their record on the bench, how they conduct their campaign, and what their qualifications and experiences are,” said Bradley.

Bradley has strong backing from conservative groups in the race leading up to the April 5 election.

The two other candidates in that race, Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Joe Donald, released statements Friday, both critical of Bradley’s appointment.

It’s the third time Walker has appointed Bradley to a judicial seat, a fact noted by a spokesman for Donald in a written press release:

“By appointing Rebecca Bradley to the Circuit Court, to the Court of Appeals, and now to the Supreme Court, Governor Scott Walker has now elevated a loyal ally three times in four years, including twice in the last year … Bradley’s unprecedented rise isn’t about her qualifications or experience. It is about moving an ideologue … into a position to support a specific ideological agenda.”

Kloppenberg, who is running in her second bid for the court, said she hopes to be the people’s choice not the the governor’s. She previously ran for a Supreme Court seat against incumbent Justice David Prosser in 2011, losing by 7,000 votes after a hotly contested recount.

Bradley, once sworn in, would expand a conservative majority on the high court to a 5-2 margin.

Correction: The Supreme Court appointment’s name was twice misspelled in the original version of this article, both as Rebecca Bradly and Rebecca Baradley. The judge’s name is Rebecca Bradley.