Liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz Wins Wisconsin Supreme Court Seat

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, April 4, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz, the liberal candidate in the race, won the race for the open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. She defeated conservative former state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly 55.5% to 44.5% and in doing so, flipped the balance of the court from a 4-3 conservative majority to a 4-3 liberal majority. Conservative Justice Patience Roggensack is retiring at the end of this term, leading to the opening on the Badger State’s highest court.

While Wisconsin Supreme Court elections are technically nonpartisan, the candidates in yesterday’s election identified themselves as liberal or conservative and were backed by respective political groups. Over $45 million was poured into the race, the most expensive state Supreme Court race ever. 

Protasiewicz received endorsements from all three current liberal justices on the state Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, a host of labor unions and more. Protasiewicz was also directly backed by Democratic Party committees.

Protasiewicz has an openly pro-choice platform and has not shied away from expressing her views about the extreme gerrymandering and political unfairness of Wisconsin’s maps. In an interview with Democracy Docket, Protasiewicz expressed concern over the court’s past rulings — including its July 2022 decision banning drop boxes and third-party ballot collection — that restrict access to voting. “Our democracy is one of our closely held ideals and that needs to be valued,” she emphasized.

Protasiewicz will serve a 10-year term on the state’s highest court, a crucial victory for Wisconsin’s democracy.

Read our profile of Protasiewicz here.

Read about the implications of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race here.