Protasiewicz elected to Supreme Court


Janet Protasiewicz

Kim Kristin Loschen and Linda Bachmann, Staff Writers

Wisconsin tipped the Supreme Court into a liberal direction — for the first time in over a decade — in Tuesday’s election. Liberal Janet Protasiewicz was declared the winner over conservative Daniel Kelly for the state’s highest court.

With over 95% of the votes in, Protasiewicz received 1,020,442 votes, or 55.5% of the total votes cast, while Kelly received 817,790,085 votes, or 44.5%.

Winnebago County voters also favored Protasiewicz, who received 26,237 votes, or about 54% of the votes cast, to Kelly’s 22,246 votes, or 46%.

Protasiewicz’s win could potentially have an impact on upcoming rulings, especially on female reproductive rights. Last year the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, giving states the opportunity to decide about abortions on their own. 

Jerry Thomas, a UW Oshkosh associate professor of political science who studies law and courts, said he expects the Wisconsin Supreme Court to eventually rule on the state of abortion law. With Protasiewicz on the court, it is also possible that a strict ban of abortions dating back to the 19th century might be overturned. Instead abortions might again be permissible previability as stated in a 1985 law, Thomas said.

According to Thomas, the outcome of the election could potentially affect other issues such as drawing district lines and voting issues.

 “As citizens of Wisconsin, we would hope that cases would be decided on the basis of law and not political ideologies,” Thomas said. “In many instances the court will be clear and unanimous in its resultings. From the perspective of a court scholar, the reality is that judges see things differently. Political science research shows what some people intuitively believe: conservative judges tend to vote conservatively, and liberal judges tend to vote liberally.”