Supreme Court candidates tout background, judicial philosophy

Candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court JoAnne Kloppenburg and Rebecca Bradley met Wednesday at the Milwaukee Bar Association’s Supreme Court Judicial Forum to promote their campaigns before the April 5 election.

JoAnne Kloppenburg is the presiding judge at the District 4 Court of Appeals in Madison and shared her intent to ensure all cases are adjudicated on a fair and unbiased basis. She stressed the need to see each case with an “open mind.”

“We need to have a court that is independent, free of partisan politics, free of special interests, and not dominated by Scott Walker,” Kloppenburg said in response to a question about judicial philosophy.

Justice Rebecca Bradley touted her diverse experience after serving as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge and a Wisconsin Court of Appeals judge.

Gov. Scott Walker appointed Bradley to the state Supreme Court after the death of Patrick Crooks last fall.

“The real reason that drives me to serve the people of Wisconsin, as a member of the judiciary, is my judicial philosophy by saying what the law is and not what I may wish it to be,” Bradley said.

Bradley was on the defense amid a recent discovery of strongly worded political condemnations and anti-gay sentiments she wrote as a student 24 years ago in several columns published in the Marquette Tribune. The columns were revealed by the left-leaning group One Wisconsin Now.

Moderators asked Justice Bradley to offer examples of how her world views have changed since the radical and offensive claims she made as a college student.

“I am extremely embarrassed and, frankly, mortified by those statements,” Bradley said. “I have grown as a person as I think many people can appreciate. We are not the same person that we were as a 20 year old in college or a quarter of a century ago.”

In closing remarks, Kloppenburg emphasized her commitment to distance herself from special interests that can heavily influence court decisions and sway the opinions of justices. She stood behind her track record as a Court of Appeals judge.

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