search
Sections List
American Journal News

Emily’s List jumps into Wisconsin Supreme Court election with endorsement of liberal judge

The group is backing liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz in a technically nonpartisan election with major implications for abortion access in the state.

By 19th News - February 09, 2023
Share
Janet Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee County Judge and state Supreme Court contender participates in candidate forum at Monona Terrace in Madison, Wis., on Jan. 9, 2023.
FILE - Janet Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee County Judge and state Supreme Court contender participates in candidate forum at Monona Terrace in Madison, Wis., on Jan. 9, 2023. Protasiewicz, one of two liberal candidates, leads in fundraising and has called the GOP-drawn legislative maps “rigged.” She has also made her support for abortion rights the focus of her television ads, the first to air in the race. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File)

This story was originally published by The 19th.

Written by Grace Panetta, political reporter at The 19th.

Emily’s List is endorsing a candidate in a state judicial race for the first time in its 38-year history, backing liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz in a critical upcoming race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Emily’s List President Laphonza Butler said in a statement released Thursday that the organization, which backs Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights, was “thrilled” to endorse Protasiewicz in a pivotal Supreme Court race that will decide the ideological balance of the court — and likely determine the fate of abortion access in the state.

“The rights and freedoms of millions of Wisconsinites hinge on a Wisconsin Supreme Court committed to reproductive freedom, democracy, and voting rights for all,” Butler said in the statement. “Protasiewicz has been a champion for Wisconsinites for over 35 years, and we have full confidence in her dedication to fairly interpreting the law and standing up to extremism. We are proud to support her in this race.”

Protasiewicz, a liberal Milwaukee County circuit court judge and former prosecutor, is one of four candidates — two liberals and two conservatives — running in a technically nonpartisan race to replace retiring conservative Justice Patience Roggensack. The top two vote-getters in the top-four primary on February 21 will advance to an April 4 general election.

Emily’s List jumping into a state supreme court race for the first time underscores the increasing importance of state courts in the fight for abortion rights. The U.S. Supreme Court leaving issues like abortion and redistricting to the states has raised the stakes for once-obscure state supreme court races and spurred more outside groups on both the left and right to devote time and resources to influencing who gets on the court.

“As those really high-profile fights play out in state courts, it’s only going to attract more attention to those courts, and those decisions and the process that decides who sits on them,” Douglas Keith, a counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice who studies state supreme court races, told The 19th in January.

In Wisconsin, where abortion isn’t protected under the state constitution and government is divided, the state supreme court has the last word on abortion. Abortion in Wisconsin was halted after the Dobbs decision due to legal uncertainty over the state’s 1849 abortion ban, leaving providers in limbo and patients seeking care in neighboring states.

Wisconsin’s high court is poised to decide a lawsuit over the 19th-century abortion ban brought by the state’s Democratic governor and attorney general; future litigation over the state’s lopsided political maps, which Protasiewcz has criticized as “rigged”; and potential disputes over the 2024 presidential election.

Emily’s List’s endorsement of Protasiewicz, who currently leads the entire field in fundraising, could also be followed by independent expenditures supporting her candidacy from the group’s affiliated super PAC, Women Vote.

Women Vote, one of the biggest players supporting Democratic women candidates, spent nearly $30 million in independent expenditures, mostly television and digital ads, in federal races in the 2022 midterms when the issue of abortion propelled Democrats to victory in races across the country.

Protasiewicz has heavily centered protecting abortion rights in her campaign messaging. Two 15-second ads in a $700,000 ad buy she placed in late January emphasize her support for reproductive rights and attack the two conservative candidates as “extremists” on the issue.

Wisconsin has seen some of the most expensive supreme court races in the country and the highest amount of outside spending from interest groups in recent years, with the state’s disclosure laws allowing many outside groups to obscure the sources of their funding.

A Better Wisconsin Together, a liberal group, has already spent nearly $830,000 on television and digital ads opposing conservative Jennifer Dorow, campaign finance filings show.  Dorow, a Waukesha County judge, gained national attention for presiding over the trial of Darrell Brooks, the man convicted of killing six people and injuring 60 others when he drove an SUV into the crowd of Waukesha’s Christmas parade in 2021.

And Fair Courts America, a PAC funded by shipping magnate and Republican megadonor Richard Uihlein, has so far spent more than $812,000 on television and radio ads supporting conservative Dan Kelly, a former justice aiming to get back on the court after losing reelection in 2020.

Keith said candidates and outside groups aired more television advertisements explicitly focused on the stakes for abortion in 2022 midterm races than in any previous election cycle, a trend he expects to continue in Wisconsin.

“We’re watching this race as very likely record-setting on several fronts,” he said.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
Cannabis workers across Missouri begin push to unionize dispensaries 

Cannabis workers across Missouri begin push to unionize dispensaries 

By Rebecca Rivas - December 04, 2023
Curtis Hertel Jr. places public service over politics in Michigan congressional run

Curtis Hertel Jr. places public service over politics in Michigan congressional run

By Alyssa Burr - October 20, 2023
Republican Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs has ties to hate groups and extremists

Republican Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs has ties to hate groups and extremists

By Josh Israel - October 20, 2023
Demands grow for Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s legislative maps

Demands grow for Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s legislative maps

By Rebekah Sager - October 19, 2023
Pennsylvania elections 2023: A voter’s guide to the state Supreme Court race

Pennsylvania elections 2023: A voter’s guide to the state Supreme Court race

By Anna Gustafson - October 19, 2023
Pennsylvania elections 2023: What to know before you vote

Pennsylvania elections 2023: What to know before you vote

By Anna Gustafson - October 18, 2023
AJ News
Latest
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

By Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

By Jesse Valentine - February 16, 2024
Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - February 16, 2024
Ohio Democrats introduce education bills for universal school meals, teacher pay raises

Ohio Democrats introduce education bills for universal school meals, teacher pay raises

By Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal - February 15, 2024
Democrats dominate in getting bills to become laws, with leadership snagging the most wins

Democrats dominate in getting bills to become laws, with leadership snagging the most wins

By Dana DiFilippo, New Jersey Monitor - February 15, 2024