State Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley says she has changed a lot as a person in the almost quarter century since she wrote a series of anti-gay columns and opinion pieces while in college.
The pieces printed in the Marquette Tribune were written by Bradley in 1992 while she was a student. Released this week by liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, they show Bradley calling homosexuals “queers” and arguing that “homosexual sex kills.” She also claimed the election of President Bill Clinton at the time “proves the majority of voters are either totally stupid or entirely evil.” Another column released Tuesday shows Bradley, writing under her maiden name of Grassl, referring to abortion as a “holocaust of our children.”
In an interview with WRN Tuesday afternoon, Bradley said she was “deeply sorry” for the words she used at the time. “I am so very deeply sorry to everyone who was hurt by what I said,” she said, while stressing that she is “very embarrassed” by the words she used while she was a young college student.
AUDIO: Justice Bradley on how her worldview has changed (1:06)
Bradley said her mind has been changed by her life experiences since writing those pieces, including almost immediately after they were published because of the reaction they received. “I’m a very different person than the person reflected in those words I used 24 years ago,” she said.
Appeals court judge JoAnne Kloppenburg, who is running against Bradley in the Supreme Court race, has argued there is no “statute of limitations on hate” when it comes to the comments made by the justice. Bradley countered though that it’s “ridiculous” to suggest that people cannot change in the course of a quarter-century. “I know people can change…I’m somebody who has changed,” she said.
Bradley’s campaign has said she will not comment on the anti-abortion column. In a statement, a campaign spokesperson would only say “Justice Bradley believes it is the role of the legislature to make the law and the role of a justice to apply it. Due to the potential for this issue to come in front of the state Supreme Court, it would be improper for Justice Bradley to give an opinion at this time. ”
Bradley was appointed to the state Supreme Court last fall by Governor Scott Walker, who previously appointed her to two vacancies in lower courts. During a stop in Brown Deer Tuesday, Walker would not condemn what she wrote. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the governor said it was also irrelevant as to whether he would have appointed her to the court had he known about them, since the issue is now up to voters to decide in April.