A candidate vying to become the newest justice on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court once compared same-sex relationships to bestiality, and railed against organizations like Planned Parenthood in anti-choice rants, a review of past blog posts has found.
Judge Brian Hagedorn is currently serving on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ Waukesha-based District II. He faces off against chief judge of the state appeals court, Lisa Neubauer, in the April general election.
The revelations come after an exhaustive review by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of a blog Hagedorn kept from April 2005 to August 2006 called “Anno Domini” (Latin for “in the year of our Lord”). In it, Hagedorn, an evangelical Christian, complained that the Supreme Court ruling that struck down Texas’ anti-sodomy law would lead to the legalization of bestiality.
“The idea that homosexual behavior is different than bestiality as a constitutional matter is unjustifiable,” he wrote in October 2005.
“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 also wrote.
Hagedorn also talked about complaining to his supervisor at the law firm for which he worked at the time about their posting supportive images and stories from LGBTQ people during Pride month. “What was being sold was not tolerance, but homosexual propaganda,” Hagedorn wrote on his blog. “Moreover, this served to create a hostile work environment for Christians. In the end, I was told too bad.”
Foe of reproductive rights, secular government
The blog also illustrates the candidate’s position on reproduction freedom, calling the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortions in the United States “the worst and most unjustifiable decision in history.” Hagedorn wrote that he used a candidate’s stance on abortion rights as a litmus test as to whether or not he could support them.
Planned Parenthood also earns his rhetorical ire, calling it a “wicked organization.” Further, Hagedorn claims his position on reproductive rights (as well as LGBTQ rights) were given to him by God, and that he would only support Supreme Court justices who are Christian.
Serious questions about Hagedorn’s ability to base decisions on the law and not his personal beliefs have understandably arisen. Asked about this, Hagedorn’s campaign issued a statement via political adviser Stephen Thompson, who claims the candidate is and will be impartial in his role.
Still, legal scholars interviewed by Daniel Bice for the MJS say that, if elected, Hagedorn would need to seriously consider recusing himself from cases that involved entities like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, which he also criticized.
Controversial and bigoted views didn’t prevent Justice Rebecca Bradley from winning a seat on the state’s high court, though. Bradley sent a series of letters to the editor of her college paper that criticized gay people and compared abortion to slavery and the Holocaust, among other things. First appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker, Bradley went on to win a full term even after those past writings came to light.