Most likely, Joanne Kloppenburg expected to run for an open state Supreme Court seat in the upcoming April election. Instead, she faces incumbent Rebecca Bradley, recently appointed following the death, rather than the anticipated retirement, of Justice Patrick Crooks.
By removing Bradley (not to be confused with Liberal incumbent Ann Walsh Bradley,) a Kloppenburg win would restore the 4-3 Conservative-Liberal split that sometimes brought a measure of suspense to the court’s decisions. But the Kloppenburg campaign appears intent on purging the voters’ decision of any suspense whatsoever, issuing bizarre announcements that to normal ears seem calculated to alienate almost anyone paying attention.
Last Wednesday Kloppenburg endorsed the judicial candidacy of Everett Mitchell, most recently the University of Wisconsin’s Director of Community Relations.
Three months ago, Mr. Mitchell put the university in an awkward spot by publicly suggesting law enforcement stop responding to shoplifting complaints, which he characterized as “over-polic[ing] our children.”
Days before endorsing Mitchell, Kloppenburg demanded her opponent, Justice Bradley, disavow support from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.
The destruction of Sheriff Clarke has been a major preoccupation of Wisconsin leftists since Clarke aired radio ads urging citizens to receive training in safe handling of firearms so they might have a chance to defend themselves in the long minutes between calling 911 and help arriving. The same Pavlovian conditioning that renders Liberals incapable of controlling their instinct to attack Clarke evidently also rendered Kloppenburg incapable of understanding the downside of trashing the state’s most popular Black elected official, or of spotlighting her opponent’s association with him.
Kloppenburg lost a nail-biting 2011 race for the Court, simultaneously helped and hindered by her implicit pledge to overturn that year’s legislation curbing the power of government employee unions. Tone-deaf then, tone-deaf now, still no cure in sight.