The Wisconsin Supreme Court Election 2023 was held on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, and its result was declared later the same day. The election was conducted to select a justice for the Wisconsin Supreme Court for a full term of ten years. In the result, Janet Protasiewicz, a judge on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court was declared the winner. With her win, the liberals won their first majority on the state’s highest court in 15 years. Protasiewicz defeated conservative Dan Kelly, a former state Supreme Court justice, in the most expensive state Supreme Court race in US history. Wisconsin is one of 14 states in the US that elect its Supreme Court justices directly.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court Election 2023 was also one of the most closely observed elections in the United States. The race gathered national attention due to its prospective show for a series of issues. Serious matters including abortion rights, voting rights, and the 2024 presidential election were the main deciding factors of the election. Described by many as the most important US election of 2023, it became the most expensive judicial race in history even three weeks before the election. A total of $42 million was spent by supporters of both candidates in the election.
Win for the Liberals in 15 Years in Wisconsin History
When the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election was declared, the Democrats scored a major off-year election victory. By winning the state’s open supreme court seat they flipped control of the court to liberals for the first time in 15 years. With 85% of the expected vote counted, Judge Protasiewicz received a total of 55% of the votes. Dan Kelly on the other hand only got 45% of the votes and lost the election. In a highly unexpected result, the liberals were not only announced victorious but they will also hold a majority on the court ahead of next year’s presidential election. At a time when Wisconsin is expected to be pivotal in the race for the White House, the election results were considered very crucial. In case any election lawsuits are filed in state court, Janet Protasiewicz will be one of the seven justices serving on the panel who have the final say.
There are many major issues pending in the Wisconsin Supreme Court such as including abortion rights, the state’s gerrymandered legislative maps and election administration, and the outcome of the 2024 presidential race in the battleground state. Now that there is a liberal majority in the court with Protasiewicz’s victory, the judgment of these issues will take place in a different way. For the past 15 years, the court was held by the conservatives in the majority. But when Justice Patience Roggensack decided not to seek reelection in 2023, an opportunity opened for the liberals to take things into their hands. To fill the vacancy that was created, Dan Kelly, a conservative stood against the liberal Janet Protasiewicz, with the latter being declared the winner.
After winning the election, Protasiewicz approached the stage for her victory speech, where she was greeted by a huge crowd of her supporters at the Saint Kate Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Some of her supporters even celebrated the win by dancing on the stage. As Janet reached the end of her speech, she was joined by the three liberal justices she’ll soon join on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
About Judge Janet Protasiewicz
Judge Janet is not only an attorney and jurist and has fought her whole life for the victims of various crimes. Protasiewicz was born into a middle-class family and reached where she is after years of hard work and dedication to her profession. At the start of her career, Janet Protasiewicz served as Assistant District Attorney for more than 25 years after which she became a Wisconsin circuit court judge in Milwaukee County. As a circuit judge, Protasiewicz is currently assigned to family court but has previously worked on domestic violence, felony, and drug court cases.
Protasiewicz’s campaign that led her to win the 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court election was mainly focused on abortion rights, gerrymandering, LGBTQ rights, and environmental protections. Now that she is in the high seat, fair decisions are expected to be made in these cases with liberals counting on her. Other than abortion rights, one of the major priorities will be for the Democrats of Wisconsin to bring a challenge to the current legislative maps, which gives Republicans unbreakable control of the state government in Madison. Judge Protasiewicz will assume her place on the Wisconsin Supreme Court on August 1, 2023.
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Judge Janet Wisconsin
April 4, 2023