Liberal Wins Wisconsin Supreme Court Race: Tips State Back to Dems

by James DiGeorgia | 04/04/2023 10:43 PM
Liberal Wins Wisconsin Supreme Court Race: Tips State Back to Dems

screen shot from JMG4 TV taken after initial run off election in Wisconsin

Janet Protasiewicz, the liberal candidate, won the state’s election for the swing seat on the Supreme Court and, in doing so, set the stage for the Democrat Party to reverse the state’s abortion ban and end the use of gerrymandered legislative maps that gave Republicans an unfair, disproportionate number of state legislative and congressional seats.

The 2024 election map is likely to favor Democratic candidates and better represent the majority of voters after the election of Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal candidate, to the State Supreme Court, flipping the majority from conservative control, according to The Associated Press.

In what was considered one of the most important off-year elections in the country Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal Milwaukee County judge, defeated Daniel Kelly, a conservative former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who sought a return to the bench, looks to have been beaten with more than 60 percent of votes counted, by a margin of 14 percentage points according to the New York Times election results tracking.

This Wisconsin race was the most expensive in the state’s judicial history and the most expensive judicial election in American history with an estimated $40 million dollars spent.

The New York Times described the campaign of Judge Protasiewicz, 60, as...

"Shattering the long-held notions of how judicial candidates should conduct themselves by making her political priorities central to her campaign. She made explicit her support for abortion rights and called the maps, which gave Republicans near-supermajority control of the Legislature, “rigged” and “unfair.”

“Her election to a 10-year term for an officially nonpartisan seat gives Wisconsin’s liberals a 4-to-3 majority on the court, which has been controlled by conservatives since 2008. Liberals will hold a court majority until at least 2025 when a liberal justice’s term expires. A conservative justice’s term ends in 2026.”

Judge Protasiewicz chose to break the campaign model when she began her campaign believing Wisconsin voters, she would win this election because she made clear her positions on abortion rights and the state’s gerrymandered maps — issues that energized the base of the Democratic Party and appealed to a majority of independents.

Judge Protasiewicz was quoted on Tuesday night by the New York Times as saying…

“Rather than reading between the lines and having to do your sleuthing around like I think people have to do with him, I think I would rather just let people know what my values are.”

Wisconsin Republicans used the Supreme Court to certify as constitutional Gov. Scott Walker’s overhauls to state government, including affirming Act 10 law that allowed the gutting of public employee unions and allowing voting restrictions like a requirement for a state-issued identification to vote and reverse the ban on ballot drop boxes.

In 2020, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court was the only one in the country to agree to hear President Donald J. Trump’s challenge to the validity of the Presidential election. Trump sought to invalidate 200,000 ballots from the state’s two largest Democratic counties. Thankfully the Wisconsin court rejected his claim on a 4-to-3 vote, with one of the conservative justices voting with the court’s three liberals on procedural grounds.

That key vote gave this year’s court race extra importance because the justices will certainly weigh in on all of the voting and election issues for the 2024 election. Wisconsin is a key swing state, and the outcome of this Judicial election was critical to not only the Presidential election ahead but also which party will have control of the House of Representatives in January 2025-2026.


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