Bradley was already running for election to the seat Crooks had announced he would vacate at the end of his term next spring, and Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling criticized Walker for appointing someone who was a candidate:
"It is unprecedented for a Wisconsin governor of any party to appoint a declared judicial candidate to the Supreme Court this close to an election," said Shilling, D-La Crosse. "This power grab sets a terrible precedent and doesn’t pass the smell test.”I guess the idea is that Walker could have appointed a place-keeper to finish the term and let the various declared candidates continue on a level playing field toward the spring election.
Would a Democratic governor have resisted giving a favored judicial candidate this boost? There have been many appointments to the Wisconsin Supreme Court of justices who gone on to compete in the next election. Shilling's point is that it's never been this close to the election. That's what's unprecedented and supposedly smelly.
Bradley is a 1996 graduate of Wisconsin Law School. I'm very happy to see our alumna ascend to the high court.
ADDED: The conservative David Blaska had recommended the place-keeper solution:
A dose of political reality: Scott Walker is underwater with Wisconsin voters right now, like it or not. Why put that onus on Judge Rebecca Bradley, who has announced her candidacy in next spring’s election? To the vacancy left by the late Justice Crooks appoint someone like Jim Troupis, now a conservative judge in Dane County, who — I’m guessing — would not seek election to the post. (Although he’d be good.)