GOP-Aligned Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidate Likened Gay Sex To Bestiality

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January 31, 2019 11:27 am
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The Republican-backed candidate in the April Wisconsin Supreme Court election has written that the Supreme Court striking down anti-sodomy laws was akin to legalizing bestiality, Planned Parenthood is a “wicked organization” devoted to “killing babies,” and the NAACP is a “disgrace to America.”

Those were among the musings on nominee Brian Hagedorn’s blog “Anno Domini,” which the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dug up for an investigation published Thursday.

Hagedorn, a former legal counsel to recently ousted Gov. Scott Walker (R), is running against the liberal-aligned appeals court judge Lisa Neubauer in a closely-watched campaign that Wisconsin Democrats see as key to flipping the court’s majority in their favor. While state Supreme Court elections are technically non-partisan, they’ve transformed into expensive proxy partisan battles in recent years.

“This race is about everything—it’s about redistricting, it’s about having a balance in our state,” local Democratic operative Patrick Guarasci told TPM in a recent interview.

The 2005-2006 blog posts uncovered by the Journal Sentinel were written when Hagedorn was a 27-year-old law firm intern and student at Northwestern’s law school.

In one, written after the Supreme Court struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law as unconstitutional, Hagedorn, an evangelical Christian, wrote: “The idea that homosexual behavior is different than bestiality as a constitutional matter is unjustifiable.”

“There is no right in our Constitution to have sex with whoever or whatever you want in the privacy of your own home (or barn),” he added, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Other posts express vehement opposition to abortion and called the NAACP a “partisan hack.”

In a statement to the newspaper, Hagedorn’s campaign said that the posts were written “long before he put on a robe and took an oath” and insisted they will not affect his decisions as a Supreme Court justice.

Democrats are, of course, pouncing. State Democratic Party chair Martha Laning released a statement calling Hagedorn’s comments “wholly disqualifying,” while Neubauer’s campaign criticized his “personal, extreme and radical” agenda in comments to the Journal Sentinel.

Conservative-backed justices currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court after Rebecca Dallet, a candidate backed by the likes of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, won her race in 2018. The justice retiring this year is aligned with progressives, so Democrats would need to win in April and defeat a retiring conservative-allied justice in 2020 in order to claw back a majority.

If they succeed, 2020 would be the first time since 2008 that progressives dominated Wisconsin’s highest court. The court would also be composed entirely of women.

The stakes are clear for both sides. As part of a sprawling package of lame-duck legislation pushed after Walker lost the governorship, the GOP-controlled legislature tried to move the date of the 2020 presidential primary so that it wouldn’t overlap with the Supreme Court election. The fear was that high Democratic turnout could hurt Republicans’ chances of holding on to their Supreme Court seat.

Republican lawmakers ended up dropping the proposal, which would have cost an estimated $7 million, amid public backlash.

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