The answer isn’t good news for rational minded Wisconsin residents, that’s for sure. Rebecca Bradley earned herself a 10 year term on the bench yesterday, more than likely thanks to the extra 100,000 or so Republicans who turned out for the hotly contested GOP primary. As to why a state Supreme Court election was held during the primary election instead of at later date when all Wisconsin citizens would have equal incentive to make it to the polls, say, in November perhaps, during the general election? (Seriously. I mean, I vote in every election held in Pennsylvania, but everyone knows we don’t have the best history with voter turnout in this nation. Why elect a judge to the Supreme Court in April, during the presidential primary?)
So why is Bradley so objectionable? How about her earlier published viewpoints?
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.”
Now I know that all looks bad, but I’m sure she doesn’t have the same opinions now. I mean, Scott Walker says she obviously has changed her views. And she has been apologizing for her past writings as well.
“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.”
See! Nothing to worry about. She’s totally redeemed. Forgiven. I’m sure she will be a fair, impartial jurist. Moving on...
In another article by Bradley, she argued in favor of personhood and compared abortion to slavery and to the Holocaust:
“I recall a time in history when blacks were treated as something less than human for convenience and financial reasons. I recall a time in history when Jews were treated as non-humans and tortured and murdered. Now, at this point in our sad history, we are perpetrating similar slaughter, only we are killing babies,” Bradley wrote in a 1992 column for the Marquette Tribune.
Unlike her comments regarding homosexuals and drug addicts, she cannot back peddle from this. She wrote another column in 2006 repeating similar arguments in favor of allowing pharmacists to deny birth control pills.
It was also revealed this week that Bradley sympathized with Camille Paglia, who had blamed rape victims for the crimes committed against them. On top of that, Bradley had a few choice words about feminists which revealed just how deep her hate goes:
“I intend to expose the feminist movement as largely composed of angry, militant, man-hating lesbians who abhor the traditional family,” Bradley wrote, arguing that the feminist movement had been hijacked by the political left, abandoning its role as a defender of women’s rights.
Well, gee, isn’t that the writing of a well-balanced, impartial judge to be?
Ick. And defending a pharmacist’s “right” to refuse to fill a woman’s birth control prescription because it is murder in 2006? Damn. But she apologized, right?!?
Still, these columns were written decades ago. Unlike some, I don’t think her hate speech from 1992 is an automatic disqualifier. I believe people deserve second chances, former felons and former letter-to-the-editor zealots alike. What bugs me today is the hollowness of Bradley’s apologies.
“I wrote opinion pieces 24 years ago on a variety of issues, and they are opinions that some people may agree with, some people might disagree with,” said Bradley in an interview with The Capital Times.
“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,” said Bradley in a press statement.
I cannot judge what is in Rebecca Bradley’s heart, but these read to me like the apologies of someone who feels bad their past caught up with them, not the apologies of someone truly regretful. ‘To those offended’ makes it sound like she feels bad for offending potential voters, not for having written the column in the first place.
Even her best defense thus far has some problems.
“As a judge on the Milwaukee children’s court, I presided over adoptions for gay couples who were adopting children and providing loving, safe homes for them,” said Bradley.
While this is a good statement on its surface, it just means she no longer thinks that all homosexuals are bad people. That’s not exactly an apology for her statements on HIV and AIDS. She is okay with monogamous couples adopting children. That’s not even saying she accepts LGBT people; she’s saying she accepts LGBT couples who have adopted a lifestyle she approves of.
She further dilutes her own apology by saying her own views are not relevant.
“At the end of the day, I am called upon to apply the law regardless of how I feel about the law. It is our job to apply the law and follow the law regardless of how we feel about the outcome,” Bradley said.
Those sound like the words of someone who wants to minimize her transgressions, not atone for them. 1992’s Rebecca Bradley isn’t up for election, but 2016’s Rebecca Bradley is — and her wishy-washy apologies don’t reflect the traits I want to see on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
But see her on the Supreme Court is the fate we are all stuck with, for at least the next ten years.