Wisconsin Supreme Court Primary &
Reproductive Rights & Bodily Autonomy. Gerrymandering. LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy. Voting Rights & Ballot Access. These vital issues, as well as so many others in Wisconsin, will come down to the results of this springs state Supreme Court election, which will determine the ideological balance of the state Supreme Court for at least the next 3-4 years.
One of the Courts four conservative Justices, Patience Roggensack, is retiring and there are four candidates running for her seat on the Court. Two conservatives – former-Justice Dan Kelly & Judge Jennifer Dorow; and two progressives – Judges Janet Protasiewicz & Everett Mitchell. The two candidates with the most votes from the February 21st primary election, regardless of ideological leaning, will advance to the April 4th spring election.
The current balance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court leans 4 to 3, with a strongly conservative majority, and is an environment in which it’s almost impossible to imagine a person’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy being restored. It’s almost impossible to imagine the current conservative Court reexamining the state’s legislative district maps, which are among the most gerrymandered in the nation and what some have referred to as an example of legislators selecting their voters, rather than voters selecting their representatives. It’s almost impossible to imagine the current conservative Court ruling to ensure that the constitutionally enshrined right to vote is made more accessible and equitable, expanding participation in our democracy rather than restricting it.
This election is already being described by experts as one of the most high-profile elections in the country. State Senator Kelda Roys describes the ramifications of the election outcome as “[i]n terms of the ability to change Wisconsin in two years, this could be an utterly different state. That is our real opportunity to not just stop the bad stuff from happening, but actually restore real democracy and accountability to Wisconsin, things like abortion rights and fair elections.”