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.”
Speaking to host Charlie Sykes on WTMJ radio Tuesday, Bradley said she was “deeply sorry” for the words she used at the time. “I am so sorry to all of the people who read those words back then, and I’m very sorry to all of the people who have read those words yesterday and today. I am horribly embarrassed, and those words in no way reflect the person that I am today,” she said.
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’ve developed an understanding over the course of my lifetime about how I should be an empathetic and compassionate person,” 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.”
The justice did not directly address the anti-abortion column during the interview with Sykes. 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.