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Everything you need to know about the state Supreme Court race

Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 17:02:20-04

On Tuesday, voters will decide who will sit on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the next term.

The nonpartisan race has turned into a political battle between Judge Brian Hagedorn and Judge Lisa Neubauer.

TMJ4's Charles Benson talked with both candidates and has what you need to know before you head to the polls.

Judge Neubauer is helping to turn out the vote with UWM students. She was appointed to the appeals court by former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in 2007 after 20 years in private practice.

Benson: Do you think voters expect you to be the liberal-leaning candidate?

Judge Neubauer: I think what the voters want is they want a judge, and that's what I've been for 11 years.

Judge Hagedorn was closing out his campaign shaking hands with GOP supporters this weekend. He was appointed to the state appeals court by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Hagedorn worked five years for Walker as his chief legal counsel.

Benson: Isn't there an expectation you will be a conservative Judge?

Judge Hagedorn: Well, I can't speak for the expectation of voters all over the place. All I can say is I've been consistent in saying I'm not running on a political philosophy. I'm not running to accomplish an agenda.

Hagedorn has been endorsed by conservative groups such as the NRA and Wisconsin Right to Life. He describes his judicial philosophy as interpreting the law as it is written, not which party passed it.

"I hope that everybody wants seven members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court who have that judicial philosophy," said Judge Hagedorn. "We are going to look at what the law says and just the law."

The Wisconsin Supreme Court leans conservative, 4-3. This race will replace retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson, the first female and longest-serving member of the court who was loved by liberals.

Neubauer has benefited from outside liberal groups such as Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and former Democratic Attorney General Eric Holder's group. She describes her judicial philosophy as no agenda, no ideology.

"What I have presented to the voters is a person who is strongly committed to being fair, impartial and independent," said Judge Neubauer. "That's what I've done for 11 years; that's why I have bipartisan support."

Both candidates have questioned each other about being impartial. Neubauer for attending a Climate March in 2017 opposing President Trump's policies. "I don't think you can look at my 3,000 decisions and say Lisa is someone who has her thumb on the scale or brings her personal views or partisanship to her decisions."

Hagedorn faced criticism for blogs he wrote while in law school calling Planned Parenthood a "wicked organization" and denouncing court rulings for gay rights. "The fact that I was in law school, certain views were expressed, doesn't change my commitment now to applying the law. People should look at my judicial record."