February 21st Primary Election Has Potential
to Change State Supreme Court’s Political Balance

By Kim Swisher, Publisher

The upcoming primary for the April 4th Wisconsin Supreme Court election has the possibility to change the balance of power of the Court and the state legislatures.

Four candidates are running to replace conservative Justice Patience Roggensack, who has served since 2003 and is retiring at the end of her term in July.

Her retirement will leave an open seat, which could impact the 4-3 majority that conservatives currently hold on the Court. The four primary candidates have experience in the state judiciary, and include:

Jennifer Dorow (conservative)

Waukesha County Judge

Daniel Kelly (conservative)

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice

Everett Mitchell (liberal)

Dane County Judge

Janet Protasiewicz (liberal)

Milwaukee County Judge

While Wisconsin's Supreme Court elections are technically non-partisan, analysts have noted that highly partisan issues are at stake, including gerrymandering, the state’s 1849 abortion law and rules that will govern future elections.

Conservatives have maintained control of the Court since 2008. Decisions last year included absentee ballot drop boxes may be placed only in election offices, and that no one other than the voter can return a ballot in person.

In addition, the Court reversed itself and adopted Republican-drawn maps for the state Legislature, ruling that Governor Evers’ map failed to consider whether a race-neutral alternative that did not add a seventh majority-Black district would deny Black voters equal political opportunity. Republicans noted that their map made minimal changes to existing districts, consistent with the demographic reality that Milwaukee’s Black population remained almost the same between 2010 and 2020.

The primary has the ability to determine the Court’s leanings prior to the April 4th election. Voter turnout in primary elections is generally low and a majority of voters tend to be conservative.

To register to vote, see what’s on your local ballot, vote absentee by mail, or find your voting place, visit My Vote Wisconsin.

Updated 2/4/2023 -

What you should know about the Wisconsin Supreme Court as a pivotal election in 2023 approaches

By Corrinne Hess, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Wisconsin's spring Supreme Court election is shaping up to be one of the most expensive and most watched races in the country.

Four candidates — two conservatives and two liberals — are running for conservative Justice Patience Roggensack's seat and the outcome could change the ideological makeup of a court that is expected to decide a number of high-profile issues including abortion and state election maps.

Conservatives now hold a 4-3 majority. The April ballot will pit the top two finishers in the Feb. 21 primary."

Read the full story here.