By Hudson Crozier
Last night: Janet Protasiewicz beat her conservative opponent Daniel Kelly for a seat in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, flipping the court to a 4-3 liberal majority. The hotly contested race, which drew almost triple the amount of campaign donations than any judicial election in U.S. history, will have wide-ranging consequences for years to come.
Why it matters for elections: Protasiewicz agrees with Democrats that the GOP-controlled Legislature’s electoral maps are unconstitutional. She also supports loosening restrictions on absentee voting, which overwhelmingly benefitted Democrats in 2020. Rulings on these issues could effectively change electoral outcomes, not only at the state level but also in the 2024 presidential election. Wisconsin is usually a swing state in the Electoral College.
Other state-level issues: Protasiewicz has strongly indicated that, if given the chance, she will rule in favor of abortion and block the current ban in effect. The court’s new liberal majority may also rule against decades of bold legislative victories by Republicans on gun rights, school choice, and more.
How the media influenced this election: Multiple people close to Protasiewicz, including her stepson, recently alleged that she physically abused her ex-husband and used the “n-word” to describe black people in conversations as a prosecutor. While covering the election extensively, the mainstream media have been silent on these reports.