Wisconsin voters are smart. In November they remembered Tony Evers’ many accomplishments and moderate leadership and elected him for a second term. Voters also rejected far-right conservative Tim Michels’ radical agenda.
Wisconsin voters soon will be able to elect a moderate to the state Supreme Court.
Currently the Wisconsin Supreme Court has a 4-3 conservative majority. The partisan nature of the court has led it to “rubber stamp” Republican policies restricting access to voting while also expanding Wisconsin’s already gerrymandered districts. These unfair districts allow Republicans to maintain huge legislative majorities even though Democratic candidates won 54% of the legislative vote compared to 46% for Republicans.
Feb. 21 is primary day for the April 4 Wisconsin Supreme Court election. Voters have a choice of two moderate candidates, Everett Mitchell and Janet Protasiewicz, whose views more closely reflect those of Wisconsin than do those of Republican candidate Dan Kelly. Kelly is a far-right radical who has written that the “Obergefell” decision, which allowed same sex marriage, was wrongly decided. He is supported by groups in favor of maintaining Wisconsin’s 1849 ban on abortion.
We need to elect a moderate judge who will not be an extension of the Republican legislature, and Janet Protasiewicz and Everett Mitchell more than qualify. Wisconsin’s Supreme Court will certainly consider cases dealing with gerrymandering, voting rights and access to abortion.
Another issue which could be considered by future Wisconsin Supreme Courts relates to the so-called independent state legislature theory. ISL, which isn’t based on constitutional text or precedent, would give state legislatures almost absolute power over elections.
ISL theory would allow the Republican legislature to overturn election results. The fake elector scheme of Ron Johnson and other GOP leaders would not be needed. Republican legislators would be allowed to submit their own slate of electors regardless of what Wisconsin voters want.
In statewide elections, Wisconsin voters have consistently chosen moderate leadership. They must do so again to restore balance and provide needed oversight of a legislature which already works to limit the ability to vote and has established the most gerrymandered legislative districts in America.
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