There are several opportunities to impact state and local government in next week’s election. One of the most important races on the ballot is for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Before voting in this race, it’s crucial to examine the values each candidate represents and the ways in which their experience and support has impacted their candidacy.

Though the race for Supreme Court is nonpartisan, it’s clear Judge Lisa Neubauer is the liberal-backed candidate and Judge Brian Hagedorn is the conservative-backed candidate. According to Hagedorn’s website, his legal philosophy centers around the notion “we need a justice committed to protecting the public.” He pledges to “apply the law fairly to everyone.”

Unfortunately, his previous practices in the judicial system suggest otherwise. One of the most powerful illustrations of this derives from his views on the LGBTQ+ community. In college, Hagedorn wrote several homophobic blog posts, one of which compares homosexuality to bestiality. Furthermore, he helped establish a school that disregards and disrespects LGBTQ+ people for “engaging in homosexual activity, among other things.” He has also accepted donations from Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal organization that advocates for sterilizing transgender people and criminalizing sodomy. As a result of his homophobic history, the Wisconsin Realtors Association pulled their endorsement of Hagedorn and rescinded their donation of $18,000.

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If Hagedorn truly believed in fighting for laws that apply fairly to everyone, he wouldn’t dedicate his time and resources to pursuing an anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.

Hagedorn has previously worked as a chief legal counsel for former Gov. Scott Walker. He defends this period as solely for legal purposes instead of political ones. Politics and law are difficult to control in respect to their ability to remain exclusive from one another, so it’s difficult to say what exactly reflects the political or legal natures of his work.

As Democrats, we are uncomfortable seeing another person who demonstrates hateful rhetoric get elected into a position of power. Calling groups like the NAACP a “disgrace to America” is disrespectful and clearly counters Hagedorn’s so-called campaign philosophies of fairness and protecting justice. How can Hagedorn be fair and impartial when he has published such hateful thoughts about Wisconsin’s most marginalized communities?

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Neubauer is advocating for a different approach to Wisconsin judicial proceedings. Neubauer’s primary goals are to ensure our state’s Supreme Court is “fair, impartial, independent and upholds the rule of law.” Moreover, she has clearly demonstrated her ability to perform through her 30 years of experience as a leader in the legal field. While Neubauer has supported some Democratic candidates, she has not made any direct donations which would violate the Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct.

With strong values of fairness and justice, it is obvious why Neubauer gained more than 345 endorsements from Wisconsin judges. Moreover, groups like Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and individuals like former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder are supporting Neubauer in this upcoming election because Neubauer positively reflects the progress we’ve made.

Wisconsin deserves a judge who is experienced, impartial and respectful toward all communities in the state. It is abundantly clear Neubauer is the candidate who will bring these qualities to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The College Democrats of UW-Madison are proud to support such an outstanding candidate.

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This state Supreme Court election is critical to ensuring justice and fairness are reflected in Wisconsin’s courts. Your voice and your vote are incredibly impactful toward local and state elections, so it’s important that you and your friends all make it out to the polls. Regardless of who you support, College Democrats of UW-Madison encourages you to vote on or before April 2.

Cecelia McDermott ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in political science and geography. She is also the press secretary of the College Democrats of UW-Madison.