Statements made 24 years ago by a college student are acceptable topics of discussion, insists liberal Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg, but a statement she herself made 5 years ago as judicial candidate is old material that shouldn’t come up. It is an amazing bit of hypocrisy in what is has been a contentious Supreme Court race.
Kloppenburg, who currently sits on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, appeared in Milwaukee Wednesday at a candidate forum hosted by the Milwaukee Bar Association. It was the first time that Kloppenburg and her conservative opponent, incumbent Justice Rebecca Bradley, personally spared in the aftermath of a brutal couple of news cycles for the incumbent.
Earlier in the week, Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now released a series of old college editorials penned by a then-20 year-old Bradley harshly condemning political figures and individuals she disagreed with. Bradley has since apologized for the writings.
Kloppenburg has eagerly weighed in on the controversy telling multiple media outlets that the decades-old statements of a then-college student are relevant to the Supreme Court race underway. But on Wednesday Kloppenburg became defensive about a comment she made just 5 years ago about not being tough on crime.
Steve Walters, senior producer at Wisconsin Eye, asked Kloppenburg to respond to an ad by a third-party group that includes a clip of Kloppenburg saying, “I never said I was tough on crime. Being tough on crime was not my message.” Kloppenburg swiftly denounced the ad saying the clip was 5 years old and implied it was not relevant to the current race. Moments earlier she had pointed to her opponent’s 24 year-old statements as evidence of why she isn’t the right choice for the state’s top court.
“Well, that is a clause taken out of context from 5 years ago,” Kloppenburg said.
I “have a proven track record as a fair, independent, thoughtful and disciplined and principled appellate court judge,” Kloppenburg said in her closing statement. “I have a proven track record; I have a non-partisan background.”
But according to WisPolitics, Kloppenburg on Wednesday night held a fundraiser at the home of Dr. Hans and Mary Sollinger. Sollinger, according to The New York Times, has raised at least $475,900 for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and she was called “A friend of Barack” by the CapTimes in 2009.
For her own part, campaign finance records show Kloppenburg giving money to at least three different Democratic candidates for governor over the past few years – hardly a record of complete neutrality. Kloppenburg also has a record of touting her alignment with liberal U.S. Supreme Court justices.