The Courier enthusiastically endorses Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court. We urge all our readers to get out and vote on April 5 in this important election.
Too many African Americans have contact with the criminal justice system in Milwaukee.
Too many African Americans and people of color are incarcerated in Wisconsin. While the Wisconsin Supreme Court doesn’t have a direct role in combating the alarming rates of incarceration of people of color, it is the State’s highest court.
As such, we need Justices on that Court who have shown they “get it” when it comes to constitutional protections, equal justice under the law, community safety and individual rights.
Judge Kloppenburg has shown that. Her opponent, Rebecca Bradley, has not.
Let’s start with Bradley. Scott Walker appointed Rebecca Bradley three times to three judgeships in three years. Her first appointment was to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Walker selected her from her corporate law practice to preside over cases in Children’s Court.
He appointed her twice more, first to the Court of Appeals where she stayed for about five months and then to the Supreme Court in October 2015.
Many people in Milwaukee gave Rebecca Bradley the “benefit of the doubt” when she was first appointed to our Circuit Court. But, we’ve learned more about her record since then.
In the 1990’s, while at Marquette, Bradley wrote and published writings that can only be described as hateful. She wrote that anyone who voted for Bill Clinton was “incredibly stupid or entirely evil.”
She wrote that people suffering from AIDS “deserve none of my sympathy.”
Yes, people can change. But Rebecca Bradley’s career doesn’t provide much evidence of that.
Throughout this campaign, she has lauded US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as a role model.
In December 2015, Scalia said that black people are often better off at “lessadvanced” or “slowertrack” universities.
Earlier this year, Bradley said that disproportionate minority confinement doesn’t “affect the work that we do on the Supreme Court.”
In a recent survey of Milwaukee County lawyers and judges, 53 percent of those who had an opinion rated Rebecca Bradley unqualified for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
This brings us to Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg who has shown herself consistently and powerfully to be a principled, independent, disciplined, and fair judge who has always stood up for all the people in Wisconsin.
Judge Kloppenburg was elected by the people to be on the Court of Appeals in 2012. She has issued more than 750 written decisions which show her to be in the judicial mainstream, carefully applying the law to the facts and reaching well-reasoned decisions.
Before becoming a judge, she was an assistant attorney general at the Wisconsin Department of Justice where she earned a reputation as a tough prosecutor, successfully enforcing Wisconsin’s environmental laws as well as handling cases in constitutional law and supervising attorneys in criminal cases.
Before she became a lawyer, she served for three years in the Peace Corps in Botswana in Africa.
Upon returning to the States, she started the federal nutrition program for women and children in two counties in Upstate New York.
But this election isn’t just about whose resume is better (although we believe Judge Kloppenburg is more qualified than her opponent).
This election is about the future of our Supreme Court and what kind of justices we elect to that Court.
We will elect a Justice to a ten-year term and there are some powerful and important issues affecting our rights that will come before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the next decade.
We need to elect a Justice who has the integrity, independence and experience to do justice without fear or favor.
We need to elect a Justice who has a proven track record as a fair, impartial judge.
We need to elect a Justice who understands the law and all its impacts and who values everyone’s constitutional rights.
That is Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg. The Courier is proud to stand with Judge Joe Donald, Congresswoman Gwen Moore and thousands of other community leaders, attorneys, and judges to enthusiastically encourage you to vote for Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg for Supreme Court on Tuesday, April 5.