Abortion, voting rights and gerrymandering: key progressive issues for Wisconsin’s new Supreme Court Majority

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For the first time in 15 years, liberals hold the majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court after Janet Protasiewicz beat out Dan Kelly for the open seat.

“Well Wisconsin,” said Protasiewicz. “Guess what? We did it!”

Protasiewicz ran a campaign based on “fairness” and “common sense.” Telling supporters she would bring impartiality to a court that she said has made too many decisions based on partisan politics and not the law.

With a new liberal majority, experts say there are three key issues progressives hope to address with the new majority.

“Ruling on the legality, or the constitutionality of the 1948 abortion ban is the first, sort of major issue.” said Dr. Alisa Von Hagen, with the University of Wisconsin, Superior.

RELATED STORY: Whitmer strikes 1931 abortion ban from Michigan law

“Secondly is redistricting or gerrymandering,” said Von Hagen. “So Wisconsin is widely held as the most gerrymandered state in the country. Thirdly the other major issue that’s been focused on is voting rights, and especially the 2024 election.”

Abortion access was certainly a key issue in the election for the open seat on the Court, and experts say that may be where Republicans fell short.

“Dan Kelly was the more conservative of the two conservative candidates,” said Dr. Von Hagen. “There have been claims made that his conservative opponent in the primary race would have potentially been much more successful, or at least narrowed that gap in the election outcomes. So, again focusing on more moderate candidates, clearly abortion was an issue that was of concern for people in Wisconsin.”

Democrats will hold the Court until at least 2025, when another seat–currently held by a liberal Justice–will be up for re-election.