Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
On Monday, the word broke of Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Bradley's horribly homophobic comments published in 1992 in the Marquette student newspaper. The awful statements have been widely circulated in national and state media, so I won't further describe them here.
These hate-speech comments were published when Bradly was an undergraduate student. While extremely reprehensible, I wonder if we should actually hold the 24-year old editorials against her. After all, we all do stupid things in our youth. For example, one of my major mistakes in life was joining the Young Republicans in 8th grade. I try to justify my actions by noting that there were several cute girls in the group, but that does little to lessen my deep regret.
Maybe we should grant Ms. Bradley the same sort of absolution that we grant others for youthful errors. For example, I no longer hold it against basketball great Glen "Big Dog" Robinson that he signed to play for Purdue. After all, we all do dumb things in our late teens and early twenties.
No, Bradley's printed comments from twenty four years ago are not that important. People do grow up. People can change for the better. However, what is telling about Bradley's character is how she handles this situation now. What is more important is the ideology of groups in which she has belonged as an adult. What is important are the groups and people that she feels indebted to now.
Bradley is certainly not handling the hate-speech situation well. She issued one of those "to those offended by" non-apology apologies. She said that her prior biases against AIDS patients and gay people "have nothing to do with the issues facing the voters of this state." (they do) She further attacked the messenger, characterizing release of her columns as "a blatant mudslinging campaign to distract the people from the issues at hand." It is astounding that Ms. Bradley feels that bringing attention to newspaper articles written by her is mudslinging.
Forget what she did years ago. Look at what she has done as an adult. Bradley has taken leadership roles in two heavily ideological organizations that cast doubt on her ability to make unbiased and fair decisions as a Supreme Court Justice.
Bradley is on the Board of Governors of the St. Thomas More Society, a group that takes extremist social positions in legal cases. The Society protects the ability of protestors to harass women outside of health clinics. They are rabidly anti-choice, believing that life begins at conception. In 2006, Bradley herself wrote a column defending the right of pharmacists to refuse to fill contraceptive prescriptions. 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."
Also as an adult, Bradley has served as President of the local chapter of the Federalist Society. Articles posted on their website show the organization focused on a number of corporatist causes, including rolling back clean air and water regulations, grossly decontrolling money in politics, and minimizing the role of unions in the workplace.
And more important than editorials written in her youth are the groups Bradley feels indebted to as an adult. In a recent blog, we talked about the dark money lobbying groups in the tank for Bradley.
One of those lobbyists, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, loves to purchase Wisconsin Supreme Court judges. WMC spent over $5.6 million dollars to elect current justices Roggensack, Prosser, Gableman, and Ziegler. This is one of the groups that was under investigation for illegal campaign coordination until our corrupt State Supreme Court unsurprisingly ended the probe.
The WMC boasts of efforts against clean air and water protection. It advocates anti-worker policies such as Right-to-Freeload. It promotes school privatization. Articles promoting Bradley and denigrating her opponent have appeared on the group's website. Based on WMC's history of flooding money into past SC elections, they will surely weigh-in on this one.
Speaking volumes on her priorities, late last month Bradley skipped-out on important Court business in order to address a WMC meeting. In her obsequious presentation to the deep-pocketed lobbying group, she called herself "your public servant". Rather than do the job we pay her to do, Bradley ran off to beg dark campaign money from lobbyists.
Forget hate-filled articles that candidate Rebecca Bradley wrote as a student years ago. Much more important is how she handles that issue today. Much more important are the politically extreme groups in which she has actively participated as an adult. Much more important are the powerful lobbyists and dark money groups to whom she is indebted. Those are much better reasons to not vote for Rebecca Bradley on April 5.