Tom urges action in Wisconsin - now!
The most important election – certainly judicial election – in 2023 may well be the one that decides the direction of the Wisconsin State Supreme court. That election is already underway with early voting, but Election Day itself is this coming Tuesday. April 4. The election pits the liberal Janet Protasiewicz against the conservative election denier Daniel Kelly. The race is for the seat held by retiring conservative Judge Patience Roggensack. If Protasiewicz defeats Kelly, this will flip the court to a 4-3 liberal majority.
This is important, of course, for any number of reasons,
but perhaps most germane nationally is the role the court plays in the running
of state elections. The court actively
upheld a number of GOP-favoring election cases in the 2020 election year,
including cases involving the use of drop boxes (not allowed) and absentee
ballots (which cannot be delivered by another person). The court also ruled that Wisconsin hold its
primary in April, 2020 despite the new pandemic, when many other state primaries
were postponed for health reasons.
Obviously, if the court balance shifts, many election laws could be
No reader of this post (or this blog) likely needs to be
reminded that Wisconsin is a true swing state now; after decades of reliable Democratic support in presidential elections, Wisconsin went for Donald Trump over
Hillary Clinton in 2016, but swung back to Joe Biden over Trump in 2020. Both of those elections were decided by less
than a point. Biden’s win was actually
protected by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, because one GOP-leaning judge refused
to back Trump’s fraud claims and sided with the three liberal justices to
preserve the election outcome, by a 4-3 margin.
Apart from election cases, the court could also adjudicate
on abortion (there is an 1849 anti-abortion law still on the books),
gerrymandering (which has given the GOP an intractable advantage in the state Assembly) and any case requiring interpretation of the Wisconsin Supreme
Court (which cannot be reviewed on appeal by the U.S Supreme Court). Clearly, there are national repercussions at
stake in this single election.
BTRTN is not here to predict the outcome of this election
for a simple reason: there is no public
polling whatsoever. All we really know
is that it is almost certainly going to be close.
Instead, we are here to advocate on behalf of Protasiewicz. There is still time to make a difference in the race. What can you do? My friend Melissa of “Like-Minded Friends” offers the following suggestions:
You can donate to Janet's campaign:
And/or you can volunteer with Wisconsin
Democrats (WisDems at https://wisdems.org/); they offer various opportunities (primarily phone banking) to help her get elected, at
Please do your best this weekend. It is races like these that will shape the destiny of our country.