Claims of politics influencing the Supreme Court dominated a meeting between the two candidates vying for a seat on the bench. Incumbent Justice Ann Walsh Bradley and her challenger, Rock County Circuit Judge James Daley, faced each other Friday night in a debate broadcast statewide by Wisconsin Public Television.
Bradley, who is seeking a third ten year term on the bench, says she is running for reelection because she cares about the state’s system of justice. Daley says he is running to bring some “common sense and humility back to the Supreme Court.”
Daley has spent much of the election cycle criticizing Bradley’s history on the court, arguing she has been on the wrong side of several controversial decisions, including Governor Scott Walker’s controversial collective bargaining legislation and the state’s Voter ID law. He echoed those lines of attack again in Friday’s debate, accusing her of being an “activist jurist” who bases her decisions on personal beliefs, instead of the law.
Bradley has defended her record, noting that the cases that often come before the court are there because of nuances in the law. She said “the issues come to us in very discrete areas,” and the only agenda a justice should have is to uphold the constitution of the state.
Bradley has also been critical of Daley for reaching out to Republicans for support and receiving funding from the state Republican Party. She repeatedly pointed out that Daley has been traveling the state talking to GOP gatherings; a tour he defended. Daley claimed Bradley is “trying to assume that I’m, in fact, under the thumb of the Republican Party. No. I’m talking to people who are, as I am, concerned about the activist jurist that Justice Bradley is.”
The two candidates will face each other in an election next Tuesday, April 7.