Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
After the bipartisan John Doe II investigation found clear evidence of illegal coordination between the Walker campaign and dark money groups, the Wisconsin far-right machine went into action. The radio squawkers and propaganda bloggers vilified the prosecutors. GOP legislators rallied to the aid of their embattled leader, enacting a series of disgraceful laws. Use of the John Doe procedure to investigate political crimes was ended. The non-partisan GAB was eliminated. The crimes of which Walker was being investigated were made legal.
But probably the worst abuse of public trust came from the actions of our corrupt Wisconsin State Supreme Court. The very same dark money groups under investigation happened to have spent more than $8 million to get a majority of the current justices elected. It came as no surprise than none of the justices benefiting from these huge campaign donations recused themselves from the Doe case. It also came as no surprise that the Court quickly halted the criminal investigation.
There is a reason our founding Fathers instituted a government with three equal branches. A strong system of checks and balances normally insures that no single branch becomes so powerful, or so corrupt, that the will of the people is ignored. We have seen what happens when all three branches of state government are securely in the hands of partisans of one party. The state chief executive can literally commit a felony and get-off scot(t) free.
Clearly, we need to clean-up our state government. We must have a Governor who is more focused on serving the people of Wisconsin than on his political future. We must have a legislature that is more focused on jobs, schools, and infrastructure than on serving campaign contributors. And we need to have a state Supreme Court that is impartial, non-ideological, and fair.
We are stuck with our Governor until 2018. Gross gerrymandering is a major roadblock to evicting the bums in the legislature. However, we will soon be able to start changing the corrupt Supreme Court. This spring, we will elect a new Justice to a 10 year term. Three candidates are running-Joe Donald, JoAnne Kloppenburg, and Rebecca Bradley. A February 16 primary will winnow this field to two. And on April 5, concurrent with the Wisconsin Presidential primary, we will select our next new SC Justice.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court elections are non-partisan. When selecting our new justice, we should pick someone who will hear each case on its merits. We should pick someone who is not beholden to one political party. We should pick someone without a rigid ideology. This week, let's look at candidate Rebecca Bradley.
Bradley has only been a judge since 2012, when Scott Walker appointed her to the Milwaukee Co. Circuit Court. In 2015, Walker appointed her to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Bradley had planned to run for the Supreme Court seat before the recent untimely death of Justice Crooks. Despite her being a candidate, Walker appointed her to fill the open seat (see a pattern?) She owes her entire short judicial career to Scott Walker.
But that is not all. Bradley's grossly partisan ties run deep and strong. She openly welcomes support from the state Republican Party. The state GOP Chair sent a letter soliciting signatures for her nomination petition. Michael Grebe, the chair of Walker's failed presidential campaign, also chaired Bradley's 2013 judicial campaign. She attended an October GOP fundraiser in Milwaukee and will headline a February Reagan Day GOP fundraiser. She has belonged to the Republican National Lawyers Association. Don't expect impartial and unbiased decisions from Bradley.
OK, so Bradley is a GOP hack masquerading as a non-partisan judge. Are her opinions on issues that might come up to the Supreme Court also so biased? Bradley is on the Board of Governors of the St. Thomas More Society, a group that takes extremist social positions in legal cases. For example, the Society protects the rights of protestors to harass women outside of health clinics. They are very anti-choice, believing that life begins at conception. And Bradley doesn't just lead this anti-choice group. In 2006, she wrote a column defending the right of pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraceptives. The More Society also wants to turn back the clock on marriage equality working towards "Restoring respect for marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman."
Bradley has also served as President of the local chapter of the Federalist Society. According to its website, the members are "conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order." Posted articles indicate that the organization is focused on a number of extreme-right causes, including rolling back clean air and water regulations, decontrolling money in politics, and minimizing the role of unions in the workplace.
Rebecca Bradley is a Scott Walker protege with little judicial experience. She has deep and wide connections to the state Republican Party. She actively subscribes to an extremist social and economic agenda. If we want an independent and unbiased judiciary, Rebecca Bradley is definitely not the candidate for Wisconsin.