Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley to speak at Federalist Society conference

By: - October 16, 2023 4:23 am

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley. (Henry Redman | Wisconsin Examiner)

Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley is set to speak at a conference hosted by the right wing Federalist Society next month. 

The Federalist Society is an organization aimed at installing conservative and right wing judges on state and federal courts across the country. The group played an instrumental role in selecting former President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court appointees as part of an effort to end the constitutional right to an abortion under Roe v. Wade. 

Bradley is named among the confirmed speakers for the society’s National Lawyers Convention in Washington D.C. in November. The convention’s theme is “originalism on the ground” and other invited speakers include a number of representatives from groups that supported her 2016 campaign for the court and frequently bring cases before the state Supreme Court. 

Since the ideological swing of the Wisconsin Supreme Court flipped in August when Justice Janet Protasiewicz was sworn in, Bradley has been loudly and frequently complaining that the majority’s actions are motivated by partisanship. 

She recently complained that in accepting a case challenging the state’s legislative maps, the Court’s liberal majority created a “purely political proceeding” “contaminated with copious conflicts of interest,” comparing the decision to a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

“Overturning precedent to strip duly elected Republicans of their seats and deliver them  to Democrats reeks of a quid pro quo,” Bradley wrote in her dissent of the Court’s decision to accept the lawsuit challenging the maps, pointing to  campaign donations Protasiewicz had received from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. 

During her campaign for the Court in 2016, Bradley received more than $30,000 in donations from the state Republican party, in addition to maximum donations she received from the party’s billionaire supporters Diane Hendricks and Richard Uihlein. Since winning her seat, Bradley has sided with Republicans in cases to limit the powers of Democrats in the state’s executive offices and to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election in favor of Trump. 

Bradley also sits on the Milwaukee chapter of the Federalist Society’s board of advisors and later this month she is set to appear at an event hosted by the chapter to give an award to former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly — who Protasiewicz defeated in the election this spring. 

Mike Browne, spokesperson for A Better Wisconsin Together, told the Examiner that Bradley’s connection to the Federalist Society shows her own partisanship. 

“The Federalist Society exists to infiltrate our courts and advance an extreme, right-wing agenda,” Browne said. “Rebecca Bradley has been a more than willing accomplice throughout her career, and there’s no one more extreme, ideological and partisan on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court today. That the Federalist Society is once again featuring her at their November conference only further confirms their relationship.”

Bradley’s office did not respond to a call requesting comment.


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.