JUSTICE ANN WALSH BRADLEY
Incumbent Justice Ann Walsh Bradley faces challenger Rock County Circuit Judge James Daley for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat on April 7. A Richland Center native, Justice Bradley taught high school before earning a UW Law School degree. Prior to election to the Supreme Court in 1995, she served as a Marathon County Circuit Court Judge. She and her husband, Mark, raised four children in Wausau, where they still live.
During Justice Bradley’s nearly 30 years on the bench, she has been recognized for her intelligence and integrity, earning a reputation for being tough, fair, and independent. Justice Bradley is committed to keeping partisan politics out of the judiciary. She believes courts must remain free from out-of-state special interest influences in order to impartially fulfill their role in America’s democratic system. Campaign finance records show Daley’s campaign received Republican Party funding for staffing and research. Bradley has no such donations from either political party.
Marquette University Law Professor and former State Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske notes it is fair game to talk about differences in candidates’ judicial philosophy, but laments the fact that third-party special interest groups, who in recent elections outspent judicial candidates, changed the nature of campaign dialogue by running misleading ads on candidates’ ability to be “tough on crime” when the Supreme Court is not a sentencing body. Bradley defends her ad featuring conservative talk show host Mark Belling’s criticism of Daley’s sentencing in a child abuse case last year as showing that folks on both sides of the political spectrum question Daley’s judgment, not that she is calling Daley “soft on crime.”
In response to Daley’s claim that she is an “activist judge” for writing opinions that ran counter to legislation advanced by Republican lawmakers and business interests, Bradley cites retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who says that such labels get used whenever people don’t agree with a court’s decision. Over 170 judges endorse Justice Bradley, with such comments as:
- Retired Rock County Circuit Court Judge James Welker: Bradley’s integrity is unmatched, as is her dedication to keeping special interests and partisan politics out of our courtrooms.
- Outagamie Circuit Court Judge Michael Gage: Bradley has always been a leader in the law, with a commitment to the highest principles of the law — fairness, impartiality and equality — and the integrity and intellect to put those principles into action.
- Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Mary Triggiano: Bradley is a role model for attorneys and judges. Her intellect is first-rate. Her writing is clear and concise. She is fair and respectful of those appearing before her. Bradley holds herself to the highest standards. She has given back a great deal to the practice of law and our courts through her volunteer work promoting the rule of law.
Over 100 sheriffs and police chiefs endorse Justice Bradley, and many of the 170 judges endorsing her hail from northern Wisconsin, including Bayfield, Burnett, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Forest/Florence, Iron, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Portage, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, and Taylor counties.
Listen to Justice Bradley and Judge Daley debate by tuning in to Wisconsin Public Television on Friday, March 27, 2015, at 7:00 p.m.
Be sure to vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice election on April 7.