By DON FOY | La Farge
The April 4 election between Janet Protasiewicz (Pro-tas-see-witz) and Dan Kelly for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat will determine the future of the Court, and Wisconsin itself, for at least 10 years (the term length for a justice).
Judges don’t run as a Republican or Democrat, or anything else, but they do lean conservative or liberal in their views. Dan Kelly is the conservative; Janet Protasiewicz is the liberal. The court has three liberal justices and four conservative justices, with one about to retire, so this election matters! Dan Kelly had been a justice appointed by ex-governor Walker, but was beaten in an election by Jill Karofsky, so he’s trying again.
Kelly calls Janet Protasiewicz an extreme partisan because she claimed the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs Decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade’s legalization of abortion, was a bad decision. Kelly says Protasiewicz is being ideological rather than upholding the Constitution, but Roe v. Wade had been the Constitutionally-based law of the land for 50 years, until it was overturned by a conservative-leaning court. So who’s partisan rather than Constitutional?
Meanwhile, since 2020, Kelly has received nearly $120,000 in personal income from the Wisconsin Republican Party and the National Republican Committee. Protasiewicz has received no similar payments from any Democratic organization. So again, who’s partisan?
And in 2017, when he was a justice, Kelly voted against overturning lax recusal standards that Walker’s conservative court implemented in 2010. More recently, he has said, “It would be difficult to develop a standard of recusal … that could be administered in an intelligent fashion.” Really? We had such standards until 2010. How about, “I received money from these people so I’m not going to take part in a case concerning them because it might bias my thinking.” Simple. Suppose Kelly is faced with a case involving the state Republican Party. How would that go?
If Dan Kelly is elected and we continue to have a conservative majority, history shows what we’re in for: Women’s reproductive rights extinguished by law, voting rights narrowed and extreme gerrymandering upheld, workers’ rights in the workplace restricted, Wisconsin’s waters and beautiful environment further polluted and diminished for the enrichment of private companies, and medical care left to the tender mercies of insurance companies, if you’re lucky enough to afford insurance. No surprises in any of this.
Vote for Janet Protasiewicz on April 4!