Liberals Take Majority On Wisconsin Supreme Court With Victory By Janet Protasiewicz

Liberal judge Janet Protasiewicz rode to victory in Wisconsin in a closely-watched and heavily funded campaign for the state’s Supreme Court seat. Protasiewicz, a former Milwaukee County judge, realigns the state’s Supreme Court with a 4-to-3 liberal majority, following more than a decade of conservative majority power.

The liberal victory could reset the playbook for future state court races. Protasiewicz’s campaign openly campaigned as staunch supporters of abortion rights and state redistricting. She gained support from Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood.

Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly replaced the conservative majority in the Supreme Court. Protasiewicz defeated her challenger, Dan Kelly, by eleven points.

“Our state is taking a step forward to a better and brighter future where our rights and freedoms will be protected,” Protasiewicz said to supporters during her victory party in Milwaukee.

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The campaign drew in over $40 million of spending, easily making it the most expensive state court race in American history.

Kelly, who identified as a textualist, chose to run a more traditional campaign. He stated that he didn’t rule on party affiliation.

But, Kelly ran an unsuccessful campaign for the court in 2020 out of the headquarters of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that the state and national Republican parties paid Kelly nearly $120,000 for previous litigation.

“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,” Protariewicz said after her victory. “We’ll see tonight if the electorate appreciates that candor or not.”

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will be hearing two nationally significant cases during next year’s term – litigation around the state’s Republican-favored gerrymandering and an 1849 abortion law that makes the procedure illegal.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, under a conservative majority, was the only state Supreme Court that agreed to hear former President Donald Trump‘s challenge to the 2020 Presidential election.

Ben Shimkus

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