Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Rebecca Bradley: 1992 Comments

Where were you in '92?

What did you say?

What did you do?

Should there be a statute of limitations in terms of accountability?

It would depend on the offense.

Rebecca Bradley is being held accountable for statements she published in 1992 as a college student.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Newly appointed state Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote in a student newspaper 24 years ago that she had no sympathy for AIDS patients because they had effectively chosen to kill themselves, called gays "queers" and said Americans were "either totally stupid or entirely evil" for electing President Bill Clinton.

In one piece, she wrote people would be better off getting AIDS than cancer under Clinton because it would get more funding.

"How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments," wrote Bradley, who then had the last name of Grassl.

GOP Gov. Scott Walker acknowledged Monday he was not aware of her Marquette University writings before he appointed her three times to judicial positions. He said it was clear her views had changed.

Bradley declined an interview request, but in a written statement said she was embarrassed about the pieces she wrote "as a very young student, upset about the outcome of that presidential election" in 1992, when Clinton first won the presidency.

"To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview," her statement said. "These comments have nothing to do with who I am as a person or a jurist, and they have nothing to do with the issues facing the voters of this state."
I can understand why Bradley would be embarrassed.

Her comments are disturbing.

Had she made those comments recently, as a judge, I would find them extremely troubling.

She needed to apologize and clarify the person she is today.

Because her statements were made so long ago, as a student, I'm willing to accept her regret as sincere.

What this comes down to is whether or not we allow people to change. Can we accept their new selves?

For example:

Granted, Obama's declaration that marriage is between one man and one woman didn't utilize derogatory terms like Bradley used in her remarks. But, he made his statement as the Democrat nominee for president, and he maintained that stance until May 2012, as president.

Why is Obama allowed to "evolve"?

His statements from 2008 no longer apply.


Then, why assume that Rebecca Bradley's comments published in a 1992 student newspaper have anything to do with her opinions today?

I do not believe Bradley's remarks from 1992 accurately reflect Rebecca Bradley, justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Context is critical.

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