Attorney general Brad Schimel came under fire for his response to a question on interracial marriage during the 1950s, in an Eye on Oshkosh segment early last month.
When asked about his view on Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban, Schimel said that the role of the attorney general was to stand with the position of the state. The show resurfaced when Wisconsin ended the ban on gay marriage with the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case.
Oshkosh interviewer, Tony Palmeri, asked Schimel, given his view on the role of the attorney general, what position he would take had he been attorney general in the 1950s. Palmeri asked if it would be wrong for the attorney general to question the morality of the proceedings.
“Yeah,” Schimel responded. “It might be distasteful to me … I’ve got to stay consistent as the state’s lawyer. It’s not my job to pick and choose.”
The interview continued with Schimel explaining he would stand by the state and represent interracial marriage as illegal, if he were attorney general in that situation.
“The attorney general is obligated to uphold state laws and provisions in the state constitution,” Schimel said.
Schimel’s definition of the attorney general’s role differs from that of the Democratic candidate Susan Happ, causing Schimel to be the target of Democratic scrutiny.
“I am sworn to enforce the law, but also to uphold the constitution,” said Happ in a statement, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “There is a place for independent judgement by the attorney general. Apparently, Brad Schimel disagrees.”