MADISON, Wis. — Disgraced former Assembly Republican Speaker and pro-private school voucher program campaign advisor Scott Jensen in a news interview tabbed Rebecca Bradley as the pick to fill a vacancy on the Wisconsin Supreme Court with the recent passing of Justice Crooks. Bradley, an already announced candidate for the April 2016 state high court election, is a noted political crony of Gov. Scott Walker with ties to his political machine and having been appointed to both judicial seats she has held by Walker.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Cronyism and corruption have been the hallmarks of Scott Walker’s administration. Appointing his crony to the State Supreme Court seat for which she has already announced her candidacy would fit Walker’s pattern and perhaps his own political interests but ill-serves the people of Wisconsin who deserve an impartial and fair judiciary.”
Gov. Walker’s political machine is the unquestionable foundation of Bradley’s judicial career, appointing her to the only two judicial position she has ever held. In an interview, Jensen indicated he expected Bradley to be appointed to yet another judicial post by her political patron Walker, this time to fill the remainder of Justice Crooks’ term on the state high court. In addition to appointment to plum judicial spots, Walker staff worked on a Bradley campaign and his gubernatorial and presidential campaign chair and head of the right-wing mega funder Bradley Foundation Michael Grebe chaired her 2013 campaign.
Jensen is a former Republican Speaker of the State Assembly and was convicted on multiple charges of misconduct in public office in 2006. After a long legal battle, he had the conviction overturned on a technicality and then Waukesha County District Attorney and now State Attorney General Brad Schimel declined to seek a new trial. Jensen is now involved with the electoral arm of the pro-private school voucher group the American Federation for Children. In his role he has directed the spending of millions of dollars in Wisconsin elections to try to elect politicians willing to protect and expand the unaccountable taxpayer funded private school voucher program.
In addition to the support of the ethically challenged Jensen, Bradley is endorsed by former Justice Jon Wilcox, hit with the largest fine in state history for a violation of state campaign finance law for the actions of his 1997 campaign for the State Supreme Court illegally colluding with an outside group.
Also lending his support is current Justice Michael Gableman, whose scandal plagued record includes fundraising for then Gov. Scott McCallum from his publicly funded office, participating in numerous cases involving the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, who spent more than $2 million on Gableman’s behalf in his election and casting the deciding votes in two cases being argued by a law firm that gave him tens of thousands of dollars in free legal advice in support of his defense for investigations about his lying in campaign ads. Most recently Gableman also filed a plea with his colleagues on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court to reconsider the conviction on misconduct charges of former Scott Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch, for illegal campaigning on public time while in Walker’s office as Milwaukee County Executive.
Walker has announce he will ostensibly be conducting a search and considering applications to fill the state Supreme Court vacancy with an appointee through the April 2016 election. However, applicants have less than a week to complete and submit a lengthy application.
Ross concluded, “State Supreme Court Justice is not a political patronage job to be doled out to a loyal crony and the decision criteria ought not be how to give your favored candidate an advantage in an election mere months away. But that is exactly what Gov. Walker would be doing by appointing Rebecca Bradley to the Supreme Court.”