The conclusion of their election contest was highlighted by the acrimony, which underscored the expensive history. The liberal candidate secured a fiery and bitter concession speech, culminating in a high-stakes victory in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race on Tuesday.
Justice-elect Janet Protasiewicz, who was vying for a comeback on the state Supreme Court, criticized the Republican-drawn legislative maps and expressed her support for abortion rights. She also expressed her personal stance on policies and issues that are likely to be brought before the court. Former justice Dan Kelly lambasted her for these views.
Kelly stated on Tuesday evening, “However, I lack a deserving adversary whom I can acknowledge defeat to. I desire that in a situation like this, I could concede to a worthy opponent. Additionally, it does not bring me any pleasure to utter these words. Moreover, I believe it is necessary to confront them directly. I reckon there are a few explanations for it and this outcome did not meet our expectations.”
He expressed his concern about the damage caused by the institution of the courts, although the slanderous accusations against him did not prevail. I must emphasize that this campaign was deeply deceitful, dishonorable, and despicable, which I have never seen before in the operation of the courts. It was truly contemptible.
The rhetoric reflected the repercussions of Protasiewicz’s race, as liberals will be in control until 2025 and for the first time in 15 years, judges aligned with liberal ideologies will have the majority on the court, flipping it to a 4-3 majority.
Despite being gerrymandered, Wisconsin is considered a swing state, and the legislative maps drawn by Republicans after the 2010 elections are widely seen as the reason. One of the anticipated issues for the court to address is the challenge to the 1849 law that nearly bans all abortions, among other issues.
In 2020, after losing his position in the court, Kelly experienced a nearly identical margin of defeat as his 11-point loss during the campaign, even though Republicans criticized Protasiewicz for openly expressing her opinions on matters she might soon have to make decisions about.
Kelly had previously worked in a Republican state, practicing privately, and he had won endorsements from anti-abortion groups. However, he refrained from commenting directly on those issues.
Protasiewicz’s campaign rejected the notion that such remarks predicted her judicial decisions, emphasizing the importance of conveying her perspectives to voters.
Campaign spokesperson Sam Roecker informed ABC News on Monday that there is uncertainty regarding the individuals who will present these challenges to the court and what decisions will be made. Consequently, it is currently impossible to determine how she will vote on these matters if they are brought before the court. However, it is important to note that she strongly supports both access to healthcare and democracy, as these are her personal values, and she has been consistently vocal about this stance.