A Badger of Honor

A Badger of Honor

April 04, 2019

By a razor-thin margin, Judge Brian Hagedorn, the conservative-backed candidate for Wisconsin state Supreme Court, has declared victory over the Left's Judge Lisa Neubauer in an extremely close race for the state's open Supreme Court seat. At last count, Hagedorn led by about 6,000 votes out of approximately 1.2 million cast -- about half of one percent! "Anybody who says they're not shocked is not being honest," one strategist said.

Hagedorn's come-from-behind success came as a shock to a lot of "experts," since he was outspent by his opponent and abandoned by so many in the corporate community. Most people took for granted that since liberals won a lot of midterm elections last fall, they'd also take the court too. Not so. Hagedorn's victory is a significant one for conservative, Constitution-loving citizens in Wisconsin, since it's a deciding seat that should help set a strict originalist philosophy in the state for years to come.

Apart from liberals, the biggest losers on the night had to be extreme leftist groups like Planned Parenthood and Human Rights Campaign, who smeared Hagedorn as a bigot and "hater." Why? Because he dared to help found a Christian school that believes what the Bible says about marriage and sexuality. The fact that he spoke to a group like Alliance Defending Freedom -- who's successfully argued numerous times before the U.S. Supreme Court -- only seemed to add more gas on the liberals' fire.

If anything, National Review points out, "the results... suggest that liberals overplayed their hand attacking religious and social conservatives. Neubauer and her liberal allies vilified Hagedorn as an anti-LGBT bigot because he had founded a Christian school that upholds Christian beliefs regarding sex and marriage..." Instead of boosting liberals, the attacks seemed to have the opposite effect -- igniting the grassroots and, ultimately, pushing Hagedorn over the finish line. "Overplayed... is a fair criticism," one Democratic operative told reporters about the anti-faith smear. The Neubauer campaign was "way too much about that" in the last days of the race.

In a lot of ways, it only seemed to add to the frustration that so many Americans feel these days. Hagedorn himself hinted at that in his own comments. "My job as a judge is to say what the law is and not what I think the law should be." But, he acknowledged, if you're "a Catholic or a Christian of various stripes, you're going to get attacked." Instead of buckling on his values, Hagedorn embraced them -- arguing that he wasn't intolerant; his critics were.

In the end, Wisconsin voters turned out to be just as sick of the Left's tactics as everyone else. While "traditional Republican leaning outfits, such as the Wisconsin Realtors Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce" all abandoned him over his religious beliefs, motivated conservatives more than made up for it. Religious liberty won the day -- and for the next 10 years, the court. Maybe next time Democrats will think twice about trying to slap the "hate" label on good people!

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Also in the April 4 Washington Update:

Congress Gets in Line, New Ad Draws One

The Senate's Nuclear War over Confirmations

Previous Washington Update Articles »