As the primary election in the race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court draws nearer, the three candidates are stepping up their efforts to get their message out. Two of them — incumbent Justice Rebecca Bradley and challenger appeals court Judge Joanne Kloppenburg — made their pitch to the members of the Wisconsin Counties Association in Madison this week.
The candidates took time to describe their differing judicial philosophies. Kloppenburg said she models her rulings after U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
"They seem to share my view of the constitution as protecting individual rights and promoting a more fair and equal society," said Kloppenburg.
Bradley has said her judicial philosophy is closest to that of justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.
"I look at the law and apply the text of the law as its written and not let my personal inclinations enter into my judicial decision making," said Bradley.
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Milwaukee County Judge Joe Donald has described himself as the moderate in the race. He was unable to attend the meeting, but during a debate in Milwaukee last week Judge Donald said he pays attention to whether the law is being applied fairly in his rulings.
"There are ties when it is applied unfairly, and it weighs heavily on a particular group of individuals," he said.
Donald has been a strong proponent of a therapeutic approach to enforcing the state's drug laws, emphasizing the use of drug courts that use treatment rather than jail time to deal with nonviolent drug offenders.
The election is Feb. 16.