- Views & Opinions
Wisconsin Justice Rebecca Bradley, writing in her college newspaper 24 years ago, called gay people “queers” and said “homosexual sex … kills.”
“But the homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy” wrote Bradley, who was appointed to the state’s highest court last October by Gov. Scott Walker.
Walker’s appointment to fill a vacancy on the court put Bradley in the position of running this year as an incumbent.
On March 7, Bradley issued a statement that said, “Recently an article I wrote while a college student at Marquette 24 years ago has surfaced on left leaning blogs and now the mainstream press. 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.
“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. 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.”
On April 5, voters in Wisconsin will decide whether to elect Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg or Bradley to a full 10-year term on the court.
Bradley’s 1992 writings, which appeared in the Marquette Tribune, were circulated on March 7 by One Wisconsin Now, which held a news conference at the Capitol.
“Rebecca Bradley has revealed such a depth of hatred and contempt for people that she cannot be trusted to uphold the most basic tenet of our judicial system, that all are equal before the law,” said One Wisconsin Now executive director Scot Ross. “She denies people their dignity because they are different than her and condemns people that hold political beliefs other than hers.”
One Wisconsin Now provided these excerpts from Bradley’s writings at Marquette:
• “This brings me to my next point — why is a student government on a Catholic campus attempting to bring legitimacy to an abnormal sexual preference?” Rebecca Bradley, Feb. 11, 1992.
• “Either you condone drug use, homosexuality, AIDS-producing sex, adultery and murder and are therefore a bad person or you didn’t know that he supports abortion on demand and socialism, which means you are dumb.” Rebecca Bradley, Nov. 11, 1992.
• “Perhaps AIDS Awareness should seek to educate us with their misdirected compassion for the degenerates who basically commit suicide through their behavior.” Rebecca Bradley, Feb. 11, 1992.
• “Heterosexual sex is very healthy in a loving marital relationship. Homosexual sex, however, kills.” Rebecca Bradley, Feb. 28, 1992.
• “One will be better off contracting AIDS than developing cancer, because those afflicted with the politically-correct disease will be getting all of the funding. How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of prevalent diseases.” Rebecca Bradley, Nov. 11, 1992.
• “But the homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy.” Rebecca Bradley, Feb. 28, 1992.
Scott Foval, the regional political coordinator for People for the American Way, called Bradley’s statements “demeaning.”
“As a gay man and long-term survivor living with HIV, Rebecca Bradley’s hateful diatribes against people like me while at Marquette are shocking and deeply disturbing,” Foval said in a statement. “I question how anyone in the LGBTQ community or anyone living with HIV/AIDS feels they could get a fair decision from her. The demeaning statements she authored gravely undermines her ability to continue to serve on the state Supreme Court.”
At the Human Rights Campaign, legal director Sarah Warbelow said, “The writings that have surfaced today would be deeply troubling from anyone, much less a sitting Supreme Court justice. Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to expect a fair and impartial decision from the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Unfortunately, this disturbing and hateful language raises serious questions about Justice Bradley’s commitment to full equality under the law for LGBT residents and people living with HIV/AIDS.”
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin also issued a statement: “It is extremely troubling that Gov. Walker would ignore this low-road record of hate speech and appoint Rebecca Bradley to Wisconsin’s highest court.”
Baldwin, who is gay, continued, “These hateful and divisive writings raise serious questions about Rebecca Bradley’s fitness to serve on the Wisconsin Supreme Court as a fair, impartial and independent justice.”
Bradley, 44, has never married. Walker has appointed her to every judicial position she’s held.
In her Supreme Court bid, Bradley is heavily backed by the big right-wing, dark-money groups that also support Walker and the state’s Republican leadership.