Rebecca Bradley’s Troubling Op Ed Piece and Candidacy

April 3, 2016 by By TR

Where to start, apart from the fact that Ms. Bradley’s “op ed” reads like a high school debate speech.

First, Ms. Bradley makes a very troubling assertion regarding Judge Kloppenburg’s service as an Assistant Attorney General that evinces either willful ignorance or willful deceit on her part. The Attorney General represents the people of the State in proceedings; it does not “represent the government against the people of Wisconsin.”

JoAnne Kloppenburg

JoAnne Kloppenburg

Bradley’s reference to “against the rights of private property owners” is even more troubling, as she is likely referring to suits involving violation of environmental laws brought by the State to enforce the laws of the State on behalf of the people. Given the hostility of the Governor, who appointed her to the Court, toward environmental protection, the meaning, and her true allegiance, are very clear. The author clearly believes that the rights of corporations and “private property owners” to pollute or despoil the environment for profit or convenience is more important than the preservation of our precious natural resources.

The author states with great pride that she is the “first Wisconsin Supreme Court justice in state history to have served at every level of the judiciary,” but neglects to mention that she is the only justice to have been appointed to each of those positions. In fact, her time as an appointee on the Court of Appeals was quite brief before Walker elevated her to the Supreme Court without any consideration as to her lack of qualifications for that position. Her judicial experience pales by comparison to that of Judge Kloppenburg.

Ms. Bradley, in a classic case of projection, has accused Judge Kloppenburg of “partisanship.” This charge coming from a candidate who has received considerable sums of money from the Republican Party of Wisconsin. This charge from a candidate who attended a very pricey fundraiser, for her benefit, at the exclusive Madison Club, which was well attended and sponsored by wealthy Republican operatives and high-level Republican elected officials. This charge from a candidate who has benefitted greatly by hundreds of thousands of dollars from right-wing dark money organizations, including the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and The Club for Growth. These dark money donors were instrumental in the “purchase” of the last three Supreme Court seats now inhabited by extreme right-wing ideologues. The money is apparently well-spent, as the current Court has consistently upheld any and all actions taken by Walker and his Republican majority in the Legislature. Most notably, in voiding state law which prohibited coordination between candidates and “independent” advocacy groups or PACS. This in turn served to absolve “JOHN DOE” and the dark money groups for their blatant violations of that law in the Recall election.

Perhaps most galling is Ms. Bradley’s discussion of “strict construction” of the Constitution. Bradley asserts that the words of the Constitution are to be interpreted strictly, as intended by the drafters, without any nuance or recognition of the passage of hundreds of years of history. Ms. Bradley’s professed role model, Justice Scalia, was a strict constructionist, yet he used his power on the bench in spectacularly activist fashion.

In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court appointed George W. Bush as President of the United States and barred the state of Florida from counting its votes. Citizens United ignored years of precedent and determined that “money is speech.” We all know the ills that have been unleashed against our electoral system by that decision.

The recent decision overturning an act of Congress, The Voting Rights Act, was also a “gift” from Scalia and his “strict constructionist” brethren on the Court. In the absence of the law, states are now free to engage in any manner of voter suppression. Witness the recent lines at the Arizona polling sites in areas heavily populated by minorities. Lines created by the intentional act of closing hundreds of polling sites in those areas. Witness the completely unnecessary Voter ID laws, and additional restrictions to the ability to even register to vote, in states governed by Republicans. These actions are the direct result of the activist, strict constructionist majority in the Supreme Court, led by Scalia. Scalia described the rights of African Americans to vote as an “entitlement.” You won’t see that sentiment articulated anywhere in the Constitution.

The simple fact is that any analysis of any modestly complex Constitutional issue requires an interpretation of the application of the Constitution to the facts or issue. Ms. Bradley’s arrogance would have you believe that only she is capable of “divining” the one true meaning and intended interpretation of the drafters of that august document. The author recently “divined” the interpretation of privacy and protection against unreasonable searches and seizures by the State under the Fourth Amendment to greatly expand the power of the State to conduct warrantless searches in your home or apartment. This in a case in which Ms. Bradley had not even been present for oral arguments. Now there’s some real “representing the government against the people,” particularly regarding private property owners.

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