The U.S. Chamber of Commerce won't pour money into this year's state Supreme Court race, creating new challenges for conservative candidate Brian Hagedorn.
The national organization often funnels money to Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce to help conservatives in court races but won't do so this year, according to three sources familiar with the plans.
The move comes as other conservatives signal they're staying on the sidelines after reports about Hagedorn founding a school that can ban teachers and students in gay relationships and giving paid speeches to a legal organization that has argued in favor of anti-sodomy laws.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association last month withdrew its endorsement of Hagedorn and asked him to return an $18,000 donation. Soon afterward, longtime Republican consultants R.J. Johnson and Deb Jordahl — who have run past independent efforts to help conservatives running for the Supreme Court — wrote a column defending the Realtors' decision to stay out of the race.
Of course, Hagedorn feels persecuted:
State Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn said Wednesday his critics were attacking him for his evangelical Christian faith and accused his opponent Lisa Neubauer of hypocrisy.
“Some of the arguments made against me are a blatant attempt not just against me but against people of faith more generally,” Hagedorn said at an appearance at the Newsroom Pub in Milwaukee sponsored by the Milwaukee Press Club and WisPolitics.com.
Hagedorn in recent weeks has lost support from business groups after reports about him founding a school that can ban teachers or students in gay relationships and giving paid speeches to a legal organization that has argued in favor of anti-sodomy laws.
“What we have really are people who want me to sign onto their own creed and their own religious beliefs,” Hagedorn said. “I have not been running saying anybody needs to agree with my own world view or religious views. What I have said is my job as a judge is to defend everyone’s constitutional rights, including their right to worship as they see fit.”
By the way, not that you needed another reason to stop this extremist from getting on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, but here’s another valid reason:
Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn said Wednesday he won’t guarantee he would step down from future cases about Act 10, the 2011 law that reduced the power of public-sector labor unions, even though he had a role in drafting it.
Speaking to a panel of journalists at an event hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club and WisPolitics.com, Hagedorn said recusal would depend on the situation, particularly whether he had a direct role in the part of the law that was challenged.
“Act 10 involved a lot of different pieces and things, that some of which I might have been more involved in than others,” Hagedorn said. “It would depend on the type of claim that was raised.”
Judges can recuse themselves from cases when they determine the case may present a conflict of interest.
Conservative-backed Hagedorn, a Wisconsin Appeals Court judge, was chief legal counsel for former Republican Gov. Scott Walker when he had a role in drafting the legislation that would define Walker’s political legacy. In addition to reducing the power of labor unions, the law, among other things, ended the practice of union dues being deducted directly from worker paychecks.
Hagedorn added there are likely some potential cases involving Walker he would recuse himself on, but that it would depend on the case.
Hagedorn’s will face off against Lisa Neubauer (D. WI) on April 2nd and Neubauer has been endorsed by her legal colleagues:
We have a chance on Tuesday, April 2, to elect an honorable judge, an independent judge, and a trustworthy judge in Lisa Neubauer. We should do just that. She has spent more than 30 years practicing law, including a decade on the Court of Appeals and almost 20 years as a litigator. She far surpasses her opponent in both experience and independence.
Please join us in supporting Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer during this spring’s election for Wisconsin Supreme Court.
George C. Brown, former State Bar of Wisconsin executive director
Former State Bar of Wisconsin presidents Thomas Basting, Ralph Cagle, John Decker, Fran Deisinger, Diane Diel, Susan Steingass, Douglas Kammer, Adrian Schoone, Judge Gary Sherman and Steven Sorenson
Let’s undo Scott Walker’s legacy and win the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Click here to donate and get involved with Neubauer’s campaign.