Liberal judge Janet Protasiewicz wins Wisconsin Supreme Court race

 April 5, 2023

Liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz won over former Justice Daniel Kelly Tuesday to become Wisconsin's newest Supreme Court justice.

The win gives liberals control in a state whose court has been controlled by conservatives for over a decade.

The switch

"Tuesday's race was easily the most expensive state judicial contest in U.S. history, with an estimated $45 million being pumped into it from special interest groups as well as billionaire megadonors, including liberal George Soros and Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, who have two of the deepest pockets in conservative politics," the Washington Examiner wrote.

"Officials on both sides described the stakes of the nominally nonpartisan race in stark terms," it added.

With over 96% of the vote counted, she won with 55.5% of the vote with over 1 million total ballots. Kelly received 44.5% of the vote with 818,000 votes.


"Republican state senate candidate Dan Knodl suggested last week that he would be open to impeaching Protasiewicz if he were to win his own race. This would give the GOP a two-thirds majority in the Wisconsin senate. Knodl made those remarks before the elections took place," Newsweek reported.

"Protasiewicz defeated Republican-backed Daniel Kelly, a former member of the state's supreme court. It was perhaps the most-watched election this year because of its possible effects on U.S. congressional districts and potential challenges to the 2024 presidential election," it added.

The election was also a financial record for the state's court election.

"The race smashed campaign finance records for state judicial elections, drawing more than $45m, according to a WisPolitics analysis," the Guardian reported.

"By comparison, in Wisconsin’s last supreme court race in 2020, donors brought in about $10m," it added.

Liberal court could impact abortion, electoral map

The high-profile election could impact several key issues in the state. Among them is abortion, where states now have decision-making power, with the Wisconsin court ruling on how laws are interpreted.

The election could also impact the future rights of the state's electoral map, a key factor in who will receive Wisconsin's electoral votes in presidential elections in 2024 and beyond.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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