Supreme Court candidate Lisa Neubauer continued her line of attack on rival Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn over his past actions and writings on the LGTBQ community, questioning whether voters could trust him to remain impartial.
Hagedorn, meanwhile, renewed his efforts to tie Neubauer to retiring liberal Justice Shirley Abrahamson. Hagedorn, who was legal counsel to former Gov. Scott Walker, repeatedly has blamed Abrahamson for politicizing the court.
Neubauer and Hagedorn raised their concerns at a forum hosted by the Milwaukee Bar Association Tuesday. The two Appeals Court judges will face off April 2.
Following Neubauer’s criticism of his past blog posts, Hagedorn said he had always treated every person that had come before him in court with respect. He claimed there was no reason to recuse himself from cases involving LGTBQ issues and promised to follow all binding precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court.
But Neubauer didn’t see it that way, blasting her opponent for disregarding the public’s opinion in his recusal analysis and shaking faith in the court. However, she declined to answer when asked if she could point to an instance where her opponent let his personal views affect his decisions on the appeals court. In doing so, Neubauer cited the Appeals Court’s emphasis on collegiality.
As he did during Friday’s debate at the State Bar of Wisconsin in Madison, Hagedorn recalled arguing cases before the state Supreme Court. He said he believed Abrahamson had already made up her mind about how to rule before he walked into the courtroom.
He also bashed his opponent for attending what he labeled as an anti-Trump rally and said it was further evidence that she would take an activist position as a Supreme Court judge.
Neubauer defended the action though, saying the rally had been on climate change and that she had gone to support her daughter, Rep. Greta Neubauer, D-Racine.
“I did not view it as a partisan activity in any way,” she said.
Hagedorn also continued his criticism of Neubauer for allowing liberal special interest groups to define the campaign by repeating their talking points and accepting their donations. He equated the criticism to an attack on his religion, which he labeled as “shameful.”
“People should not vote for or against me on the basis of faith,” he said.
But Neubauer said she doesn’t think “information equates to attacks.”
The two candidates debate next on March 26 at Marquette University Law School.