On Tuesday, Wisconsin voters will cast their ballots to determine the state Supreme Court’s composition in one of history’s costliest judicial contests, reports noted Tuesday.
Both contenders vying for the vacant position are unaffiliated with any political party. Conservative candidate and ex-Justice Dan Kelly, who enjoys the support of a majority of Republicans, is competing against liberal candidate Judge Janet Protasiewicz, favored by most Democrats. The victorious candidate will shape the court’s ideological stance and secure a 10-year tenure.
According to reports, Protasiewicz has received support from left-wing billionaire George Soros and Gov. J.B Pritzker (D-IL) in the form of donations. On the other hand, Kelly has been backed by conservative judicial organization Fair Courts America. The total amount spent on the election has surpassed $40 million, a significant increase from previous years when the total spending was around $10 million.
Janet Protasiewicz has also received support from Hollywood, with film director Steven Spielberg contributing to her campaign and actor Mark Ruffalo urging voters to “change the future of Wisconsin by electing Janet Protasiewicz & flipping the state supreme court.”
Kelly and Protasiewicz have accused each other of being unfit for the position. Kelly has criticized Protasiewicz for her left-wing affiliations and alleged that she has a history of being lenient on sentencing for criminals. Meanwhile, Protasiewicz has connected Kelly to efforts to contest the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin.
“This election is about protecting the Rule of Law. My opponent has promised to force her personal politics on everyone in Wisconsin. She would choose the Rule of Janet over the Rule of Law. We cannot let her win,” Kelly said last week.
Meanwhile, during a debate earlier this year, Protasiewicz claimed that she was “running against probably one of the most extreme partisan characters in the history of the state.”
While the candidates are officially non-partisan, they have vastly different views on key issues. Protasiewicz is an advocate for abortion rights and even aired an ad featuring a woman who celebrated her abortion because the child could have had disabilities. On the other hand, Kelly has received endorsements from important pro-life groups in the state.
The outcome of the election could potentially have a significant impact on a case regarding Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban. This issue gained relevance after the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade was overturned in the summer of last year.
The outcome of the election could also have a significant impact on various state laws, including election integrity measures, gun laws, and election maps.
A major ruling last year that barred unmanned drop boxes and forbade voters from giving their ballots to others to drop off would have potentially been different if the court had a different balance. The case over Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban, which has become relevant after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, could also be decided by the newly elected justice.