Liberal Majority Flips Wisconsin Supreme Court Amid Disputes On Elections & Abortion

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After a decade and a half of conservative dominance, the state Supreme Court in Wisconsin now has a liberal majority. Following an election victory earlier this year, liberal contender Janet Protasiewicz, who is generally aligned with priorities of the Democratic Party though the race was non-partisan on paper, took her oath of office on Tuesday.

Wisconsin also currently has a Democratic governor who narrowly nabbed another term in last year’s midterm elections, though the Republican Party dominates the legislature. The state has ended recent presidential elections with particularly close results and after 2020’s race became a key venue for challenges over the national outcome, though these efforts generally failed. Going forward, similar disputes are expected to be considered by Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, matters that could range from the process of voting to district lines, which remain an active area of concern after the redistricting mandated following the most recent census.

A lawsuit was recently filed, for instance, that challenges the past decision by this very judicial body that mostly banned the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots, a method of returning votes that Democrats have widely supported in the name of access. After the earlier decision, Trump again pressured leadership in the state for action on the results from 2020, then years past. Wisconsin is also currently grappling with the reimposing of an antiquated ban on abortion, and related challenges could soon be heard by the court Protasiewicz has joined.

Per the Associated Press, the new member of Wisconsin’s highest court spoke at this week’s ceremony about her interest in maintaining the equal application of the rule of law. “We all want a Wisconsin where our freedoms are protected,” she told those who’d gathered, including Democrats in elected office. “We want a Wisconsin with a fair and impartial Supreme Court. We all want to live in communities that are safe. And we all want a Wisconsin where everyone is afforded equal justice under the law.”

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons