Justice Rebecca Bradley has served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for a little over a week and, like Congressman Paul Ryan as a potential Speaker of the House of Representatives, she knew perfectly well what she’d be getting into. At least in Bradley’s case, the trash-talk comes from political opponents.
Week One gave Bradley a taste of what lies ahead when some Woodward-and-Bernstein wannabes ferreted out the news that her campaign organization had reserved a “Justice Bradley” internet domain name shortly before Governor Walker appointed her.
Quite a scandal, no? Evidently the crack reporters of the Associated Press think that when people are named to fill vacancies on the state’s highest court, judicial propriety demands that the appointee be the last one to hear about it.
That the AP is simply obtuse is remotely plausible. That the campaign of JoAnne Kloppenburg could be so oblivious is inconceivable. Rejected in a Supreme Court candidacy four years ago, Kloppenburg has gotten the band back together and now makes bold to suggest Bradley’s appointment taints the court with partisanship and special interest influence.
Really. In 2011 Kloppenburg played up to government unions with her explicit eagerness to overturn the Act 10 collective bargaining changes. Now she denounces “special interest” influence on the court and volunteers herself as its bulwark against partisanship by opposing “Governor Walker’s choice.” If Kloppenburg wins next spring, we can at least look forward to some hilarious opinions.
Rebecca Bradley’s appointment is the appropriate alternative to leaving the court one Justice short, creating the (admittedly remote) possibility of 3-3 ties, with almost half a year’s work to do before the spring election.
We wish Bradley well and hope she finds the work sufficiently satisfying to compensate for the juvenile mudslinging that nowadays inevitably comes with it.