Wisconsin state appeals court Judge Brian Hagedorn wants to be one of the state’s next Supreme Court justices, but he’s currently under fire for a series of hateful and incendiary blog posts he wrote in the mid 2000s. Hagedorn insists his personal beliefs have no impact on how he interprets the law.
Unearthed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the posts include several extreme attacks on the right to same-sex marriage and abortion. In a 2005 post, for example, he compared homosexuality to bestiality, bemoaning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn sodomy laws and claiming it made it legal for someone to have sex with a horse.
“[T]he idea that homosexual behavior is different than bestiality as a Constitutional matter is unjustifiable,” he wrote, ignoring the concept of consent. “There is no right in our Constitution to have sex with whoever or whatever you want in the privacy of your home (or barn).”
Two months later, he highlighted another story about someone sexually assaulting a dog. “What if the dog liked it and frequently initiated it?” he wrote, suggesting Lawrence v. Texas should “cover precisely this sort of thing.”
On another occasion, Hagedorn described how he once worked at a firm that recognized Pride Month, complaining that he was forced to “‘celebrate’ homosexuality and other sexual deviances.” He complained about the “indoctrination” to his HR supervisor, telling her that he resented “being told by my workplace what the moral status is of various sexual behaviors.” He called the promotional materials “propaganda” and said they created what he described as “a hostile work environment for Christians” and a “double standard” for tolerance.
Hagedorn also frequently attacked abortion, describing it as his litmus test issue for supporting political candidates. He called Roe v. Wade “the worst and most unjustifiable decision in history,” claiming the country was now “45 million Americans short” and promising “that these lives shall not have died in vain.”
In another post, he called Planned Parenthood a “wicked organization more committed to killing babies than to helping women.”
Hagedorn’s campaign insists the comments in no way reflect how he rules from the bench. His political adviser, Stephan Thompson, responded to the Journal Sentinel’s reporting with a lengthy statement assuring, “Judge Hagedorn took an oath to be an impartial and apply the law on every case.”
“He believes personal political values have no place on the Supreme Court and his job is to say what the law is, not what he thinks the law should be,” the statement continues. Thompson also responded to specific questions about Planned Parenthood, Roe v. Wade, bestiality, and marriage equality, repeatedly insisting Hagedorn would be impartial and had no reason to recuse on any related cases.
The statement does not include an apology nor does it indicate that any of Hagedorn’s beliefs have changed. “Judge Hagedorn is not ashamed by his faith,” Thompson said. “It has shaped his commitment to his family and the dignity of all people throughout his life.”
Candidates with similarly extreme views have run for the Wisconsin Supreme Court before. Two years ago, it was revealed that Justice Rebecca Bradley, who sits on the court currently, had written several student newspaper columns in the early 1990s, lashing out at “queers” and calling people with AIDS criminals. “I will certainly characterize whomever transferred their infected blood a homosexual or drug-addicted degenerate and a murderer,” she wrote.
Bradley was elected to a full 10-year term in 2016.
Hagedorn is running against state appeals court judge Lisa Neubauer, whose candidacy is favored by liberals in the state. Her campaign responded to the Journal Sentinel report last week by criticizing Hagedorn’s “personal, extreme, and radical agenda.”
The general election is in April.