It’s all on the line April 4. The stakes in this election couldn’t be higher for a nonpartisan spring race.
These races often fly under the radar, but I can’t overstate the importance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race that features an absolutely stark contrast in judicial philosophies. The race features former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, a solid conservative, and Judge Janet Protasiewicz, who has embraced the “progressive” label. Kelly is the clear choice for Wisconsin.
Casting aside any respect for judicial ethics, the liberal/progressive candidate, Protasiewicz has indicated how she would rule on a number of issues should they be revisited by the court. Without hearing details of an individual case, she’s said she believes the most recent legislative maps are “rigged.” She’s also called Wisconsin’s Act 10, the 2011 legislation that empowered choices for school districts, unconstitutional.
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On other issues, she has gone further. A March 3 Wisconsin Watch story answered the question about whether “Janet Protasiewicz campaigned in support of abortion rights” with a resounding “yes.” The story further refers to a Feb. 22 tweet by Protasiewicz “reproductive rights are at stake.”
A Feb. 21 New York Times story quoted Protasiewicz saying on election night, “everything we care about is going to be determined by who wins this election.” What assurances has she been given that “everything we care about” will arrive at the Supreme Court for deliberation? Armed with the knowledge they know how she’d decide cases because of her lack of judicial ethics, lawsuits by liberals will start lining up.
Former Supreme Court Justice Kelly was among those justices who stood in defense of the citizens of Wisconsin from overreach by Gov. Tony Evers during COVID challenges and stopped Evers from trying to pull a fast one on the 2020 spring election. He’s a reliable, solid jurist.
In that same New York Times story, asked about the legislative maps, Kelly responded, “When a map gets challenged in court, the responsibility of the court is to fix the legal defects, not the political defects.” He then stated what a prudent justice should always say. “Courts are not built to decide political issues, just legal issues.”
What a wonderful concept. The judiciary is tasked with following the rule of law. They aren’t tasked with being a clearinghouse for every disagreement folks have with recent legislation. Kelly is exactly the type of jurist we need as our next Supreme Court justice. I strongly urge you to get involved in his campaign, and make sure you cast your ballot for Kelly.
Having met Kelly a few times over the years, I am always impressed with his attention to detail and great analytical mind that is able to bring many complex judicial concepts to a level most can understand. It is this type of mind I want on our Supreme Court.
The current legislative maps were reviewed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court, which referred the case back to the state. No further revisiting of this matter needs to occur. We found in the Gill v. Whitford challenge to the 2011 maps that since political opinions can often change within a demographic, it would be extremely difficult for a court to define partisan “gerrymandering.” Insert Kelly’s prudence vs. Judge Protasiewicz’s activism. I’ll side with Kelly.
Wisconsin has been a national leader in the school choice movement, and programs here and across the nation have survived countless legal challenges. It doesn’t matter. A Protasiewicz victory would put those programs in jeopardy. Forget about those more than 50,000 students who annually opt for better environments through the various parental choice programs, there is an agenda to fulfill to re-empower the juggernaut of the public teacher unions.
Since it’s “everything we care about,” no issue will escape new litigation. Voter ID, right-to-work laws, concealed carry, castle doctrine and more are all on the ballot April 4. Election integrity? I anticipate Judge Protasiewicz would ignore Wisconsin Statute 6.855 (1) regarding “drop boxes” that states “designated site(s) shall be located as near as practicable to the office of the municipal clerk,” and we’d see drop boxes on every corner. Protasiewicz has even earned the hashtag #nojailjanet in conservative circles for her light sentencing requirements for many offenders.
The distinction couldn’t be any clearer. Kelly’s wise and prudent analysis, and adherence to the rule of law, or Judge Protasiewicz’s activism and pre-judging on issues that may come before the high court. Join me in sending Kelly back to the Supreme Court this April 4.
Frostman lives in Baraboo: email@example.com.