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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Wisconsin Judge Takes Heat for College Rants

MADISON, Wis. (CN) - A Republican-appointed Wisconsin Supreme Court justice running to keep her seat used her 1992 college newspaper column to call gay people "degenerates" who "willingly caused" the majority of AIDS infections.

Justice Rebecca Bradley's columns in the 1992 Marquette Tribune, unearthed by the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, contain what some are calling hate speech.

In columns and letters to the editor, Bradley condemned "self-centered" women who get abortions, an AIDS awareness group promoting condom use and gay people for their "abnormal sexual preference," among other targets.

One column called recently elected President Bill Clinton a "tree-hugging, baby-killing, pot-smoking, flag-burning, queer-loving, draft-dodging, bull-spouting '60s radical socialist."

Bradley has refused interview requests, according to local news outlets, but apologized for the remarks in a statement saying she was "embarrassed" at what she had written as a "very young student." She further stated they had "nothing to do" with her career as a lawyer and jurist.

The main target of Bradley's indignation was AIDS, writing in one column about losing a "wonderful and innocent" friend who received a blood transfusion containing the virus.

Calling herself and her friend "victims of the decadent and depraved," she made it clear that "homosexuals and drug addicts" who die from AIDS "get none of [her] sympathy."

"Heterosexual sex is very healthy in a loving martial relationship. Homosexual sex, however, kills," she continued.

Her opponent for the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat, Justice Joanne Kloppenburg, was quick to condemn Bradley on her campaign's Facebook page.

"Rebecca Bradley's comments are as abhorrent and disturbing today as they were in 1992, as people were dying in huge numbers from AIDS," Kloppenburg's post said. "Her career since that time includes being appointed three times to three judgeships in three years by Scott Walker, who is against gay rights."

Walker, Wisconsin's Republican governor, told local news outlets that he was unaware of Bradley's writings when he appointed her. His spokesperson later stated Bradley had made it clear the remarks did not affect her current career.

One Wisconsin Now's executive director is less convinced.

"The hate and vitriol for others Rebecca Bradley displayed in her writings was repugnant and unbecoming for a university student then and it is absolutely unacceptable for a justice of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court today," Scot Ross said in a statement on the group's website. "She is unfit to serve on our high court, and if she has a shred of decency or integrity she will resign immediately."

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