On April 4th, the people of Wisconsin have a chance to choose the newest member of our Supreme Court. Over the next 10 years, the winner will hold one of the most important offices in the state’s entire judiciary.
While not as flashy as presidential or gubernatorial elections, an election for the Supreme Court will deeply impact the rule of law in our state. The Supreme Court’s decisions help ensure that all laws are applied as intended – a task that requires scholarship and subtlety.
The two candidates on our ballots are Judge Janet Protasiewicz and Justice Daniel Kelly. They are two vastly different personalities, with very different approaches to the role of the judiciary and the role of a judge or justice. By examining their careers and positions, you can learn which one deserves to be trusted with your vote.
First, let’s look at the experience each candidate brings to the table.
Janet Protasiewicz has spent nearly twenty years in the legal profession. Although initially a prosecutor, she then became a Circuit Court Judge.
Despite her professional trajectory, Protasiewicz’s direct experience with political offices is relatively limited. As a judge, she has served mainly at the Family Court, as well as for homicide and sexual assault cases – largely, “clear-cut” situations where there’s a right and a wrong.
On the other hand, Daniel Kelly’s career already includes one partial term on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court (2016-2020). Here, he issued winning opinions in many high-profile cases. Through his votes and written opinions, he has helped preserve Second Amendment rights and free market conditions. He consistently voted and wrote in ways that verify his conservative, originalist credentials. His past experience is a powerful indicator of future performance.
Their position on judicial activism
Janet Protasiewicz has been very open about her many radical views. Instead of empowering families to make their own moral choices, she is working towards a world where men and women are not equal, but exactly the same, and where the State has the final word on who we should be allowed to pray to, or what we should learn. Rather than uphold the rule of law , her “true calling” seems to be reshaping society into an extreme version of “modernity”.
Such transparent opinions are not common among Supreme Court candidates, and for a reason. The Wisconsin Judicial Code of Ethics clearly indicates that rulings should come free from personal bias, and must stem from the letter of the law, rather than subjective beliefs.
On the other side of the ring, Justice Dan Kelly takes a much different approach–a strongly principled approach. He is staunchly opposed to judicial activism and deals with the laws as they are.
The same integrity and commitment to principle is seen in his personal life: Justice Daniel Kelly is a devout Christian in a long-term, stable marriage. Both his wife and his five children steer clear of controversies, devote time to charity, and follow the same all-American values that most traditional Wisconsinites do.
Their attitude toward the rule of law
On paper and in some public statements in media interviews, both candidates say they believe in respecting the law and holding criminals accountable. Yet, in practice, they could not be more different.
Daniel Kelly is a self-professed constitutionalist, who sees his job as a judge and a justice as a duty, with his authority deriving from “we the people.” In his four years on the Supreme Court, he used his role to preserve order and the rule of law and did not engage in judicial activism.
On the other hand, Janet Protasiewicz is often too eager to criticize the institutions she serves, institutions entrusted with the rule of law. She has openly contradicted the U.S. Supreme Court and the Wisconsin Supreme Court when it comes to the state’s legislative maps, calling them “unfair” and even “rigged.” When combined with her obvious opposition to the state’s current laws on abortions, her desire to change the laws around her becomes clear. Perhaps next time she should run for the State Assembly?
The Choice is Clear
If you believe in the judicial system and the rule of ,then the choice is crystal clear. Protect the Supreme Court of Wisconsin. Vote for Justice Daniel Kelly on April 4th.
Authorized and paid for by Wisconsin Family Action, Inc. Not authorized or paid for by any candidate or candidate’s committee.