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Supreme Court candidate calls opponent partisan

Rock County Circuit Court Judge James Daley criticizes his opponent as an anti-business activist judge who sides with criminals and puts road blocks in front of law enforcement during an interview at the News Republic office Thursday.

Rock County Circuit Court Judge James Daley labels his opponent a “liberal” and an “activist” judge.

Daley — a former Republican district attorney who has spoken at a number of GOP gatherings during his current campaign for Wisconsin Supreme Court — accuses sitting Justice Ann Walsh Bradley of legislating from the bench.

He says she is “anti-business” and wants to “bring Wisconsin back to days of double digit unemployment by taxing, fining and litigating businesses to where they can’t expand because they’re too exposed to risk.”

Daley says his liberal opponent “sides with criminals” and “puts road blocks in front of law enforcement.”

To some, such language may sound political or ideological — which would make Daley the equivalent of the pot calling the kettle black. But the longtime military serviceman insists his campaign is not about politics. He wants to restore the rule of law to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Daley described himself as a “conservative jurist,” but clarified that this only means he would place “the rule of law and the constitution above my personal beliefs, above any agenda I may have or above any partisan political goals that I have.” Daley made the comments during a campaign stop at the Baraboo News Republic office Thursday morning

Daley was appointed as Rock County Circuit Court judge by former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson in 1989. He was subsequently elected to five terms, during which he touts his influence in creating specialized courts for substance abusers and veterans.

He said he supports a constitutional amendment that would allow Wisconsin Supreme Court justices to select their chief justice. Currently, the most senior member of the court acts as its chief justice, a position that Abrahamson has held since 1996.

Daley said the amendment would help solve the dysfunction among members of the high court, of which he said Bradley has been at the center.

When asked for examples of Bradley’s dysfunctional behavior, he cited a June 2011 skirmish between Bradley and conservative Justice David Prosser. However, he stopped short of saying that Bradley was responsible for that incident.

“She’s not against democracy,” Daley said. “She’s against anything that would prevent her from becoming the next chief justice. And with her slash and burn tactics over the last 20 years among members of that court, she would not be elected chief justice.”

Daley listed the best two decisions of the Supreme Court within the last five years as its upholding of Gov. Scott Walker’s bill to end collective bargaining for public workers and a decision that upheld the constitutionality of the state’s voter ID law.

Baraboo News Republic reporter