The Capital Times today has an excellent article on candidate for state Supreme Court, Randy Koschnick, courtesy of reporter Steven Elbow. In it, we're given a pretty solid picture of just who this guy is, and how he'll likely rule if elected. Thankfully, incumbent Judge Shirley Abrahamson is quite popular and already thoroughly creaming Koschnick in fundraising, but that doesn't stop me from worrying a little bit. After all, wildly indept Michael Gableman was able to unseat the vastly more qualified Louis Butler in the last round of judicial voting. And as much of an underdog as Koschnick is, his extremely conservative background is enough to give one pause.
Take, for example, this declaration made by his campaign manager, Seamus Flaherty: "I think that people of faith will like a justice who construes the Constitution as written, with all the liberties that are afforded to believers, and doesn't play politics from the bench. So in that sense I wouldn't be surprised if they see a candidate they like in Judge Koschnick." (emphasis mine)
No, Flaherty, the liberties and rights afforded in the Constitution of these United States apply to all citizens, regardless of faith or lack thereof. That's an incredibly important distinction, and if Koschnick's own campaign manager doesn't get it, do you think the candidate himself does?
The article goes on to note Koschnick's connections to several far-right groups that I've already mentioned on this blog (Wisconsin Right to Life, Wisconsin Family Council), and adds that he was, at least for some time, a member of the Promise Keepers. If you're not familiar with the organization, you can get a general idea of them here. Suffice to say that it's a mens group that focuses heavily on Biblical literalism and an extremely patriarchal, controlling attitude toward women and marriage.
We're also informed of Koschnick's membership and active participation in an evangelical church that espouses anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, and anti-evolution views.
Someone looking to take away the rights of his fellow citizens and who willfully ignores hundreds of years of scientific research is not someone I'd want sitting on the bench of the highest court in the state. Koschnick is certainly free to hold those views, of course, but we're also free not to elect him to a position where objective, law-based critical thought and decision making is supposed to reign.
Oh and Flaherty? Try this on for size: It's "all the liberties that are naturally inherent for all human beings." Not just the ones with which you happen to agree.