Previewing the Wisconsin State Supreme Court Race on Tuesday

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 6:31 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Tuesday is Election Day for what some say could be the most consequential election of 2023 - the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race.

Voters will pick who their next Supreme Court justice will be - and that will determine whether or not conservatives maintain their majority of 4-3 on the court.

The race has been garnering national attention and has shattered advertising spending records.

“I think you can see it could definitely approach record turnout for a Supreme Court race. No question about it. We’ve already seen record spending,” said Mark Jefferson, the Executive Director, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

The winner of the election could be a key swing vote on cases that are expected to come before the court about abortion rights, voting rights, redistricting and possibly challenges to the 2024 presidential election.

The race is technically nonpartisan but Janet Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee County Circuit Judge, is considered the liberal candidate with the backing of Democrats. She has been very open about how she feels about issues that could come before the court.

“When it comes time to make a decision on any of these issues, they’ll be made based on the law. And decisions rooted in the law and based on the Constitution. So to be clear to let people know, you know, I am an advocate of women having the right to make their own reproductive health care choices. And I’m also an advocate of a representative democracy,” said Protasiewicz.

Former Supreme Court justice Dan Kelly is the conservative candidate back by Republicans who says personal views have nothing to do with the work of the court.

“I think that this race exemplifies two very different and contrasting views about the work of the court is. So I subscribe to the constitutional role of the court. And like I said, that’s just using the existing law to resolve our cases,” said Kelly.

The winner could also be the swing vote in Potential challenges to the 2024 presidential election. In 2020, the court’s justices voted 4-3 to reject former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the state’s presidential election results.

“The state Supreme Court in Wisconsin came within one vote of overturning the 2020 election results. So this has implications not just for Wisconsinites, but also for people across the country who are thinking about the next presidential election,” said Ben Wikler, chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

Whomever wins this election will serve on the court for a term of ten years.