State Supreme Court Candidates Debate Justice Bradley’s Past Actions

College Newspaper Columns, Romantic Relationship Among Topics At Milwaukee Debate

Moderator Mike Gousha, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, and State Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg.
Moderator Mike Gousha, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, and State Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg at a debate in Milwaukee Tuesday night. Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

The past actions of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley were topics during a debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday night between Bradley and her rival JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Twenty-four years ago in college, Bradley wrote newspaper columns criticizing gays, abortion and women’s role in date rape. At the MIlwaukee debate, Bradley again apologized for those writings. But opponent Kloppenburg noted that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke who has criticized same-sex marriage is helping Bradley’s campaign.

“And so, we haven’t seen in her career evidence of change,” said Kloppenburg.

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Bradley fired back at the state appeals court judge.

“I think it’s unbelievable that my opponent has the audacity to suggest she can look into my heart and mind and say anything about the person I am,” she said.

Bradley said she doesn’t endorse all the views of her supporters.

The candidates also disagree over whether a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article was fair. The story last week reported that 12 years ago in a child placement case, Bradley served as the attorney for a man with whom she previously had a romantic relationship. Bradley called the article “vile.”

“The article that was written by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last Thursday was a vile of garbage masquerading as a piece of journalism,” she said.

Kloppenburg said the article raised legitimate concerns about conflict of interest.

“One legal commentator conceded that, ‘yes, what she had chosen to do, the choice she had made, was permissible, but it was unwise,’” she said.

Kloppenburg refused to agree to Bradley’s request to “disavow” the article.

The state Supreme Court election is April 5.

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