Category Archives: judicial elections

Lone Judicial Voice Supporting Trump’s Extraordinary Theories Running for PA Supreme Court Seat

Bolts Magazine has an in depth report on the candidacy of Pennsylvania, Appellate Judge Patricia McCullough,  entitled “The ‘Stop the Steal’ Judge Who Wants a Seat on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court.

“‘Republican judges across the country stood up and said, “This isn’t right.” If you’re the judge who said that this passes the smell test, that raises real questions,’ [Daniel] Fee said, calling McCullough a ‘national outlier of Republicans across the country.’

Judges of all political stripes rejected Trump’s claims in late 2020. The Washington Post tallied at least 38 Republican-appointed judges had ruled against Trump in the five weeks following the 2020 election. That included a Trump nominee in federal court who called a lawsuit to overturn Wisconsin’s results “extraordinary,” and the supreme court in Arizona, which is filled entirely with justices appointed by Republican governors.”

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Janet Protasiewicz wins Wisconsin Supreme Court race

And the NYT offers a prediction about the first order of business:

Once Judge Protasiewicz assumes her place on the court on Aug. 1, the first priority for Wisconsin Democrats will be to bring a case to challenge the current legislative maps, which have given Republicans all but unbreakable control of the state government in Madison.

Jeffrey A. Mandell, the president of Law Forward, a progressive law firm that has represented Mr. Evers, said he would file a legal request for the Supreme Court to hear a redistricting case the day after Judge Protasiewicz is seated.

“Pretty much everything problematic in Wisconsin flows from the gerrymandering,” Mr. Mandell said in an interview on Tuesday. “Trying to address the gerrymander and reverse the extreme partisan gerrymandering we have is the highest priority.”

(This pre-election New Yorker piece on the race also leads with redistricting.)

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Wisconsin: “Dan Kelly calls Wisconsin Supreme Court winner Janet Protasiewicz a ‘serial liar’ as he lashes out in his concession speech”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

 Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly lost his race against Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz by at least 10 percentage points Tuesday but refused to call his opponent to concede, instead choosing to lash out against her in a concession speech to supporters.

“I wish that in a circumstance like this, I would be able to concede to a worthy opponent,” he said at an event held at the Heidel House Hotel in Green Lake. “But I do not have a worthy opponent to which I can concede.”

Kelly called Protasiewicz’s campaign “deeply deceitful, dishonorable and despicable.”

“I say this not because we did not prevail. I do not say this because of the rancid slanders that were launched against me, although that was bad enough. But that is not my concern. My concern is the damage done to the institution of the courts,” Kelly said….

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“Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race could be the beginning of the end for GOP dominance”


Next week’s Supreme Court election in Wisconsin could be the beginning of the end of the GOP’s near-dominance in Wisconsin.

With the exception of the governorship, Republicans have long had a lock on most levers of power in the state. They have a strong majority of the congressional delegation. They’re on the cusp of supermajorities in both legislative chambers. And conservatives currently hold sway on the state Supreme Court.

But a liberal win in the April 4 election could upend all of that. It would give liberals an effective majority on the high court — and with it, the possibility to redraw state and congressional district lines in ways that dramatically curb Republican power.

“Wisconsinites are very familiar with hearing ‘this is the most important election of our lifetime,’” said Sarah Godlewski, a Democrat who was recently appointed to be the Wisconsin secretary of state after running for the Senate last year. But, she emphasized, this race is actually incredibly “consequential” for the longer-term political control of the state.

A liberal takeover of the supreme court could even be a factor in the race for control of the U.S. House in 2024.

A win by Democrat-backed Janet Protasiewicz — which could shift control of the court from a one-seat advantage for conservatives to a 4-3 liberal majority — could have a domino effect in the state. She is facing former state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, the conservative candidate backed by the state GOP in the technically non-partisan race.

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“Costly Court Race Points to a Politicized Future for Judicial Elections”


It is a judicial election like no other in American history.

Thirty million dollars and counting has poured into the campaign for a swing seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, with TV ads swamping the airwaves. The candidates leave no illusions that they would be neutral on the court. And the race will decide not only the future of abortion rights in Wisconsin, but the battleground state’s political direction.

Yet in other ways, the contest resembles an obscure local election: There are no bus tours or big rallies. Out-of-state political stars are nowhere to be found. Retail politicking is limited to small gatherings at bars that are not advertised to the public in advance.

The result is a campaign — officially nonpartisan but positively awash in partisanship — that swirls together the old and new ways of judicial politics in America, and that offers a preview of what might be to come. It is the latest evidence, after the contentious recent confirmation battles and pitched decisions on the U.S. Supreme Court, that judges increasingly viewed as political are starting to openly act political as well.

Officials in both parties believe the Wisconsin race could lead to a sea change in how State Supreme Court races are contested in the 21 other states where high court justices are elected, injecting never-before-seen amounts of money, politicization and voter interest.

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Wisconsin: “5 takeaways from the only Supreme Court election debate. Daniel Kelly and Janet Protasiewicz take the gloves off.”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

For nearly an hour, Kelly and Protasiewicz battled at the State Bar of Wisconsin’s headquarters in Madison — accusing each other of running deceitful campaigns and being an unprecedented danger to the state.

Protasiewicz called Kelly one of the most “extremely partisan candidates” in the history of the state. 

“He is a true threat to our democracy,” she said, citing legal counsel Kelly provided to state GOP officials while they planned to submit false paperwork claiming to be electors for former President Donald Trump following Trump’s defeat in 2020.

Kelly repeatedly called Protasiewicz a liar and said the only way to restore trust in the Supreme Court would be for him to be elected. …

Kelly said he would not accept millions from the state Republican Party because he does not want to be known as a Supreme Court justice who is “bought and paid for.”

“I understand my opponent has been accepting millions of dollars from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and I think that presents a major problem,” Kelly said. “If she were to be elected to the Supreme Court, she would forever afterwards be known as being bought and paid for by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.”

Kelly in his unsuccessful 2020 campaign also used the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s offices as his campaign headquarters and state GOP staff are providing 2023 campaign help in the form of communications and research. He also has received contributions from the state GOP, including around $4,000 in March.

Protasiewicz said she would recuse herself from hearing lawsuits brought by or against the Democratic Party of Wisconsin because of the millions of dollars the state party has funneled into her campaign.

She accused Kelly of already being “bought and paid for” by the Republicans because he worked for the party and Republican National Committee for two years on election issues and was paid nearly $120,000. Kelly said he is an attorney and is hired by many clients.

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