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In Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Liberals Score Huge Victory

In Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Liberals Score Huge Victory
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Could Tuesday’s election for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat determine the future of our country or even the next President of the United States? Maybe not. But the victory of liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz over conservative Justice Dan Kelly could be the most important election result of 2023.

This state Supreme Court election, in which a record $45 million was spent, upended the balance of power on the swing state’s highest court. That, in turn, will likely determine the future of abortion rights, election laws and the right to vote – three burning issues in the swing state.

The balance of power in the state Supreme Court could determine the balance of political power in the state.

Let’s start with the right to abortion. Protasiewicz’s victory could provide a roadmap for Democrats in the 2024 election. Wisconsin’s 1849 law banning nearly all abortions has been in effect since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson last June, which overturned Roe versus Wade. A challenge to this 19th century law is making its way to the state High Court. Many of the more than $10 million in ads Protasiewicz ran in the final weeks of the election highlighted his views on abortion rights. Now she will likely be the deciding vote when the 1849 law and other abortion issues reach Wisconsin’s highest court.

But it’s not just about abortion. The balance of power in the state Supreme Court could determine the balance of political power in the state. Although there are roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats in Wisconsin, Republicans have drawn district lines at all but ensure they win two-thirds of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts. ‘State. State legislative lines are also rigged. Republicans would have to lose the statewide vote by more than 10 percentage points to lose the state Assembly. Democrats are eager to challenge those district lines, and with Protasiewicz’s victory, the state Supreme Court could now recognize these extreme gerrymanders as violating state law.

Finally, Wisconsin is expected to be a battleground state in the 2024 presidential election. That means its election laws are important not only to Wisconsin voters, but to people across the country. While Democrats tend to push for laws that make it easier for people to vote, the reverse is true for Republicans. The state Supreme Court could rule on challenges to election laws related to the availability of mail-in voting and ballot boxes and possibly voter registration and voter identification laws. One need only look back to the 2020 election to remember how each of these rules can affect election results. If the presidential election is happening in Wisconsin, tangibly, the presidential election could come down to how the state Supreme Court rules on challenges to the state’s election laws.

Neither Protasiewicz’s nor Kelly’s views on the issue of election laws are really in question. Kelly worked for the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the Republican National Committee in the aftermath of the 2020 election, when Republicans attempted to overturn valid presidential election results in the state. Protasiewicz, on the other hand, telegraphed a more liberal legal ideology on these rules.

There’s a reason the Wisconsin Supreme Court race was the most expensive court race ever in our country. While many of us tend to focus on the United States Supreme Court and the federal court system, over 90% of legal cases are heard in state courts. State court judges generally play an important and underappreciated role in shaping this country’s legal framework. But for an election, their role has been recognized. Wisconsin voters have now helped chart the state’s course on many of the biggest issues facing our country. The ideological makeup of a state’s Supreme Court makes a difference.

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