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Rebecca Bradley ‘horribly embarrassed’ by anti-gay comments, Walker declines to condemn them

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BROWN DEER - Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley went on talk radio Tuesday, March 8th to say she was "deeply sorry" and "horribly embarrassed" by anti-gay opinion pieces she wrote 24 years ago.

The appearance on Charlie Sykes' show on WTMJ/620AM came as the liberal group One Wisconsin Now released a fourth of Bradley's 1992 commentaries in the Marquette Tribune student newspaper. In the latest writing, she compared abortion to the Holocaust.

Rebecca Bradley

Rebecca Bradley

The same group on Monday uncovered opinion columns Bradley wrote that same year in which she called gay people "queers" and "degenerates" and said voters who elected President Bill Clinton were "either totally stupid or entirely evil."

"Those words in no way reflect the person I am today," Bradley told Sykes. "I’ve lived a lot of life in the 24 years after that, and I’ve become a much better person than I was back then. My views on these issues have changed, and I`m a fair and compassionate person to every person who has come before me as a judge."

Bradley is running for re-election April 5th against state Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Court of Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg

Court of Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg

FOX6 News searched the online archive of the Yale Daily News, the student newspaper of Yale University, where Kloppenburg did her undergraduate studies in the early 1970s. The only reference to Kloppenburg was an October 1972 directory that listed the room number for JoAnne Fishman, Kloppenburg's maiden name.

Kloppenburg did not write for the student newspaper while attending Yale University or law school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Melissa Mulliken, Kloppenburg's campaign manager, said Monday.

Governor Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker has said he didn't know about the writings before appointing Bradley to three different positions, most recently to the Wisconsin Supreme Court last fall. On Tuesday, he said it was  "irrelevant" whether he would've still made the appointment had he known about the 1992 comments.

Walker declined to condemn Bradley's anti-gay commentary when asked directly by FOX6 News.

"This isn’t about me," Walker said. "It’s about a judicial position, and it’s ultimately about what the voters are going to decide."

One Wisconsin Now released a fourth column written by Bradley, who then went by the name Rebecca Grassl, in which she criticized advocates of abortion rights.

Wisconsin Supreme Court

Wisconsin Supreme Court

"Our society is turning a blind eye to this holocaust of our children," Bradley wrote in the column, dated April 1st, 1992.

One Wisconsin Now's executive director, Scot Ross, renewed his call for Bradley to resign from the Wisconsin Supreme Court over the comments. Luke Martz, Bradley's campaign manager, said Monday that such calls were "absurd" and she had no plans to resign.

Walker on Tuesday defended the vetting process his office used prior to appointing Bradley to positions on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, court of appeals, and Wisconsin Supreme Court.

"I don’t think that any governor -- I could be wrong, but I don’t know that (former Wisconsin governors) Jim Doyle or Tommy Thompson or Scott McCallum would’ve had a process by which they would’ve found something as specific as this," Walker said.

Doyle did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Rebecca Bradley

Rebecca Bradley

The governor's office looks at judicial opinions, columns written as a lawyer, and writings from law school as part of the process to review a candidate's application, Walker said.

Bradley said it was "ridiculous to suggest" people can't change, in response to Kloppenburg saying there is no statute of limitations on hate.

LGBT community divided

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, both openly gay Democrats from Madison, were critical of Bradley's anti-gay writings.

Baldwin said Bradley's college opinions amounted to "hate speech" while Pocan offered to set up a meeting between the Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and LGBT groups.

But Devin Gatton, president of the Wisconsin chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, a gay-rights group, said no such introduction would be necessary.

Rebecca Bradley

Rebecca Bradley

Bradley has attended a fundraiser for FAIR Wisconsin, a gay-rights group, and it's proof that minds can change over the years, Gatton said.

"I felt that it was a little bit unfair to be characterizing Rebecca Bradley as something she did 24, 25 years ago, and not looking at what she’s done today," Gatton said.

Walker said he didn't think Bradley would need to recuse herself from discrimination cases in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the future.

"She’s made it clear (the 1992 commentary) doesn’t reflect her time as an attorney and a member of the bar," Walker said.


  • Opinion8d

    I’m sure we’ll keep seeing ‘versions’ of this story in the headlines up to the election. Regardless of someone’s views, they have the ability to interpret laws and rule objectively. What happened to Religious freedoms? Oh, that’s right, we’re dealing with liberals here…..

  • Libsareliars

    Hey fox6 maybe if you folks did some real investigative reporting you might find out some things about politicians on both side of things they said on the past. I assume this won’t happen since you idiots have decided to have this witch hunt against Bradley. You people in the news media have reached a new low and yes this includes you Ted Perry!!

  • Lamont

    Gays and lesbians are all decent people. I don’t think she should be burned at the stake for some paper she wrote in college. I mean, she probably had a left wing granola eating feminist prof with a phd in women studies that tried to force feed her granola during class and got sick and tired of the bs and the poor girl just vented. We need someone like her to balance the left and it’s certainly not the other mannequin looking creature.

    • Julian

      I had a English professor that gave me a lower score because I used “man or men” in a paper. I kept using the words in my papers just to spite the beach. I eventually dropped the class after talking to the dean as not to make any waves.

  • idiots

    Well on that note I believe we should all be judged by the dumb stuff we did in our late teens and early twenties instead of who we are now. That should really prove how progressive we are as a nation. Everyone please report to hell when you are finished here, from now on your sins shall not be forgiven. We must also crucify anyone that knows us whether unwittingly or otherwise. Thank you.

  • Kat

    She is a disgrace! I didn’t call gay people names back in the 90’s. Why is she being given a pass on that. Shameful

  • Truth Hertz

    The only difference between liberal queers and conservative queers is that liberal queers tend to be more open about it. Still a queer is a queer. Some of the loudest opposes to queer legislation has been conservative queers even though they’re queers themselves. Remember Charlie Crist, Larry Craig, Aarons Schock, Jim McCrery, Edward Shrock, Phil Hinkle, Troy King , Jon Hinson, Richard Curtis, Mark Foley, Robert Bauman and the list of closet queer conservatives could go on and on. So before you ignorant political goofs get caught up in partisan faggotry, do know that the goofs on the left are at least more open about their faggotry and you right winged queers are deceitful about your faggotry like you are about your politics. This is why us Independents have to get your two parties out of politics, you all are too gay.

  • grunt

    I’m still waiting for the article that details Hillary Clinton’s stance against gay marriage, which started before college and continued while her husband sexually harassed female employees in the White House.

    • Libsareliars

      Or how about Hillary praising KKK card holding member Robert Byrd at his funeral. Somehow you heard crickets chirp from the media during that whole thing.

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