This campaign is about the future of our Supreme Court, what kind of court it ought to be and what kind of justices we ought to elect to the court. The court ought to be a place where justice is done without fear or favor. We must elect justices who have the courage and skill to stand up against the partisan politics and special interests that have no place on the court.
On Feb. 16, we have a tremendous opportunity to choose a new justice for our Supreme Court. To take advantage of that opportunity we need the right candidate.
We need a candidate who is a strong, clear alternative to Gov. Walker’s choice, Rebecca Bradley.
Gov. Walker appointed Rebecca Bradley three times to three judgeships in three years. One of her conservative supporters wrote to Walker: “Rebecca … will receive the strong support of conservatives. She has paid her dues. That will not be forgotten.”
The other candidate, Joe Donald, supported Rebecca Bradley twice. He endorsed Bradley after Gov. Walker appointed her to Circuit Court. Then, last year, he served as a reference for Bradley’s application to Gov. Walker for her second judicial appointment. When asked by a reporter why he supported Rebecca Bradley, Donald said, “The only thing I can tell you is that I got bamboozled.”
Voters expect — and deserve — justices who cannot be “bamboozled” by the partisan agendas that threaten the ability of our court to function as an independent check and balance on the other branches of government. I alone was first elected, not appointed, to the bench.
We also need a candidate who has the best qualifications. I am the presiding judge on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District 4. My colleagues chose me as presiding judge because they respect my ability to encourage the best from everyone, efficiently conduct the court’s business, and respectfully handle issues that arise.
I have a proven track record as an independent, fair and thoughtful appellate judge. I have issued hundreds of written decisions. Rebecca Bradley has issued several. Joe Donald has never written an appellate decision.
Before being elected to the Court of Appeals, I was an assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice for 23 years, handling hundreds of cases in courts around the state at all levels.
Finally, in order to elect a new justice, we need a candidate who knows what it takes to run a statewide campaign. In 2011, I earned 750,000 votes in one of the highest turnout elections ever in a Supreme Court race. I had much support: People of all political stripes, working men and women, judges, law enforcement professionals, attorneys, community leaders all came together during that campaign.
I am building on that support. I am the only candidate who has visited all 72 counties during this campaign. Wisconsin residents from every county are publicly endorsing our campaign, including former Congressman Dave Obey from Wausau, civil rights pioneer Vel Phillips from Milwaukee, and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
There is no other candidate in this race who matches the breadth and depth of my judicial and legal experience. There is no other candidate who matches my ability to reach out, statewide, and build the strong, grassroots network it takes to win this race.
I am the only candidate in this race who has both the background and the backbone to win this campaign and to stand up, as a justice on our Supreme Court, to the partisan politics and unregulated special interests that have no place on the court.