In the final hours before today’s Wisconsin presidential primary, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were were in total agreement.
They were both urging voters to cast ballots in the state’s hotly contested Supreme Court race.
And they were both making clear their positions regarding a contest that pits a conservative judicial activist with a history of taking extreme stances and close ties to Governor Scott Walker against a veteran prosecutor and jurist who argues that the courts must maintain their independence and assure justice for all.
When Wisconsin Democrats gathered for their annual “Founder’s Day” dinner Saturday night, Clinton made a pitch for herself. But she took time to declare, “There is no place on any Supreme Court or any court in this country, no place at all for Rebecca Bradley’s decades-long track record of dangerous rhetoric against women, survivors of sexual assault and the LGBT community.”
“No to discrimination, no to hate speech and no to Bradley,” Clinton told the enthusiastic crowd.
The next night, at a rally in Madison, Bernie Sanders told thousands of cheering supporters, “I hope that a large voter turnout on Tuesday will help elect JoAnne Kloppenburg to the Supreme Court.”
How did the Wisconsin Supreme Court become a big deal in the race for the Democratic nomination for president?
It has a lot to do with Scott Walker.
On the day that Walker’s run for the Republican presidential race collapsed last fall, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patrick Crooks passed away.
Walker’s first major act as a former presidential contender was to fill the vacant seat on the state’s highest court with Rebecca Bradley, a rigid ideologue whose illiberal opinions were well-documented.
As a college student in the early 1990s, Bradley wrote a series of articles in which she referred to gays and lesbians as “degenerates” and “queers,” compared abortion to the Holocaust, and argued that author Camille Paglia had “legitimately suggested that women play a role in date rape.” After Bill Clinton won the 1992 presidential election, Bradley wrote: “We have now elected a tree-hugging, baby-killing, pot-smoking, flag-burning, queer-living, bull-spouting ’60s radical socialist adulterer to the highest office in our nation.… We’ve just had an election which proves the majority of voters are either totally stupid or entirely evil.” More recently, in 2006, she wrote articles equating birth control with murder and advocated for a state law designed to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control.