Milwaukee, WI – The Wisconsin Supreme Court claimed a major victory for reproductive rights with the win of candidate Janet Protasiewicz. The liberal judge’s win was described as a huge shake-up for Wisconsin, and when seated in August will push the conservative majority seats to liberal. Her election also means a stop to the ban on abortions in the state known as the Wisconsin 1849 abortion ban.
“Wisconsin voters have made their voices heard. They’ve chosen to reject partisan extremism,” Protasiewicz said during election night, according to The Guardian. “It means our democracy will always prevail.”
This Supreme Court win marks a heavy time for politics in this country. With two issues being heavily debated – abortion and voting rights – Supreme Court races have become a much bigger deal. This race was reportedly the most expensive political campaign in US history, with $42 million spent. Protasiewicz was able to keep up with the amount of outside money Kelly was collecting. She raised $14.5 million on her own, with $9 million of it coming from the Democratic Party.
“We built a presidential-scale campaign through the state party and then never stopped. And that’s why we were able to win the governor’s race and now a state Supreme Court race,” Ben Wikler, the chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, said at Protasiewicz’s election night party in Milwaukee, according to The Guardian.
The messaging of the race was highly focused on abortion rights and fair elections. Protasiewicz used her campaign to heavily advocate for abortion rights in the state and other issues that aligned with the Democratic Party. She was endorsed by other Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and the well-known abortion rights group Emily’s List.
Another reason for Protasiewicz’s victory was that her campaign outspent her competitor Kelly’s, along with support from groups outside. “Too many have tried to overturn the will of the people,” said Protasiewicz in her victory speech, according to NBC News.
Protasiewicz’s victory to the now liberal majority court will help determine the outcome of abortion rights, the state’s gerrymandered legislative maps, election administration, and even the 2024 presidential election. This is the first time since 2008 that the court will not be majority conservative-led and Protasiewicz is said to be serving a 10-year term.