On Tuesday, April 2 Wisconsin voters have a choice between two very different candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court. Brian Hagedorn has focused his campaign on one simple message – judges should say what the law is, not what they wish it to be. His opponent, Lisa Neubauer, has refused to articulate any coherent judicial philosophy. Instead of debating on substance, she has either directly leveled personal attacks or has sat back and watched as the media has done her dirty work.
Last week’s decision out of Dane County finding the legislature’s special session bills unconstitutional should serve as a wakeup call throughout the state. The stakes could not be higher.
The philosophy advanced by Brian’s opponent is nothing more than a poorly veiled political doctrine. Instead of tracking closely the unambiguous and plain meaning of statutory language, like the Dane County judge, Neubauer believes a judge has the power to “correct” the legislature when it has advanced a policy that it believes to be “unjust.” While judges must certainly serve as guardians of constitutional rights, they should only exercise authority when legislative acts are clearly inconsistent with core constitutional principles.
Correcting what it views as “bad” policy is nothing more than tyranny of the judiciary. And this is exactly the philosophy advanced by Neubauer and her special interest allies like Planned Parenthood.
But there is even more at stake on April 2. The attack on Brian and his family has been nothing more than a character assassination, carefully orchestrated by Neubauer and executed by her media compatriots. The attack began with the unearthing of various blog posts authored by Brian. Anything written is fair game during a campaign. However, what has transpired since then should shake to the core any voter.
Not satisfied to simply hold Brian accountable for past writings, Neubauer and the media turned their collective attention to Brian’s speaking engagements before Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a respected national organization that prides itself on “defending Christians to protect religious freedom for all.” The discredited Southern Poverty Law Center has wrongly characterized ADF as a “hate group.” So naturally Neubauer’s media henchmen immediately advanced the theory that Brian had previously been paid a meager stipend to speak to a “hate” group.
And in truly Orwellian move, Neubauer and the media attacked Brian and wife for starting a private school. Their offense? Expecting students, parents, and teachers to adhere to widely-held traditional values, views presumably still held by the Catholic Church, the Wisconsin and Missouri Synods of the Lutheran faith, Baptists, and numerous other Protestants denominations. Nevertheless, that has not stopped the media from targeting Brian and even the parents of children who have decided to send children to the religious based school.
The attacks have had the intended result. In addition to painting Brian, a committed husband and father who has honorably served as a Supreme Court Law Clerk, an Assistant Attorney General, Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Scott Walker, and now a respected Court of Appeals Judge, as an unqualified bigot, it has resulted in otherwise conservative allies wilting under the scrutiny. The Wisconsin Realtors Association withdrew their support and requested a return of a relatively sizable donation. Then the national Chamber of Commerce indicated it would not work with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce in financially supporting Brian’s efforts. Both moves were interpreted as extremely harmful to Brian’s prospects.
Make no mistake. In addition to attempting to eliminate a conservative judicial philosophy from the Wisconsin political landscape, Neubauer and her allies are attempting to eliminate those of faith from the public square. Who they wish to take their place are those who adhere to the philosophy advanced by Neubauer, one premised on the supreme nature of the judicial branch with its members sitting as overlords over the meager people’s representatives. And along with this super-technocratic view comes disdain for people of faith. Sadly, these sorts of attacks have resulted in otherwise strong allies of judicial conservatives creeping into the shadows, afraid of also being labeled a hate group by the media and other members of the PC Police.
Don’t back down. On April 2, join me in standing with Brian Hagedorn. Stand up to Lisa Neubauer, her media allies, and her special interest supporters. Stand up for religious liberty and the rule of law.
Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) is the state senator for the 20th district.