Bradley apologizes for anti-gay opinion pieces

Posted at 1:09 PM, Mar 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-07 23:14:40-05
MADISON -- Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley on Monday apologized for anti-gay opinion pieces she wrote as a college student 24 years ago, saying she is embarrassed by the content and tone and that they do not reflect her worldview or current work as a judge.
The liberal group One Wisconsin Now revealed one column and two letters to the editor that Bradley wrote in February and November 1992 when she was a student at Marquette University. They were published in the Marquette Tribune, the student newspaper.
Bradley faces state Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg in the April 5 election for a 10-year term on the state's highest court.
In her writings, Bradley describes homosexuals as "queers," compares them with drug addicts, saying they "essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior." She describes newly elected president Bill Clinton as "queer-loving" and says his 1992 victory "proves that the majority of voters are either totally stupid or entirely evil."
She also describes homosexuality as "an abnormal sexual preference" and says those who support it are "dumb" and "degenerates who basically commit suicide through their behavior."
Bradley, who is 44 now and was 20 and 21 when the pieces in question were written, backed away from the comments Monday.
"I was writing as a very young student, upset about the outcome of that presidential election and I am frankly embarrassed at the content and tone of what I wrote those many years ago," Bradley said in a statement.
"To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview," Bradley said. "These comments have nothing to do with who I am as a person or a jurist, and they have nothing to do with the issues facing the voters of this state."
Jenni Dye, research director for One Wisconsin Now, said Bradley can't be trusted to be an unbiased member of the Supreme Court given the number of cases that could come before it dealing with gay rights in housing, health care, family and employer law.
"The bottom line is, how can we trust Rebecca Bradley's judgment?" Dye said.
One Wisconsin Now director Scot Ross called on Bradley to resign, saying she was unfit to continue serving as a Supreme Court justice, calling her writings irresponsible, hateful and harmful.
Bradley's campaign manager Luke Martz rejected the call for her to resign, saying that was "absurd."
Ross also criticized Bradley for not disclosing, when applying for three judicial appointments with Gov. Scott Walker, that she had been a columnist for the Marquette student newspaper. It was not clear if the governor was aware of Bradley's student writings. Walker's spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Walker appointed her to the Supreme Court in October, after previously naming her to a circuit court opening in Milwaukee and the state appeals court.
Bradley called the release of her college writings "a blatant mudslinging campaign to distract the people from the issues at hand. This election is about diametrically opposed judicial philosophies."
Bradley is generally supported by conservatives, while Kloppenburg has the backing of liberals. The election is officially nonpartisan.
Kloppenburg had no immediate comment on Bradley's writings or her apology.