Judges Announce Campaigns for Supreme Court Next Year

Two state judges have announced campaigns for the Wisconsin Supreme Court next year for the seat currently occupied by Justice Patience Roggensack, who plans to retire. The race will appear on the nonpartisan spring ballot in April 2023. Justices in Wisconsin serve staggered 10-year terms.

On May 25, Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz announced her bid for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Judge Protasiewicz was first elected to the bench in 2014 and reelected in 2020. Previously, she worked as an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County for 26 years.

Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell announced his candidacy on June 1. Judge Mitchell currently serves as presiding judge of the county court’s juvenile division and is the senior pastor at Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church. He first won election in 2016 and was reelected in 2022. Before that, Judge Mitchell was an assistant district attorney in Dane County and worked as the director of community relations for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This race has implications for the philosophical makeup of the court. Currently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has three liberal justices and four conservatives, including retiring Justice Roggensack. Justice Brian Hagedorn has acted as a “swing” vote on some issues, joining with the court’s liberal wing in a series of 4-3 decisions on issues such as redistricting and the public release of business COVID-19 data.

Former Justice Dan Kelly, a judicial conservative, has been mentioned in media reports as a potential candidate next year. Kelly was appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker (R) in 2016 to serve the remainder of a retiring justice’s term. He lost to Justice Jill Karofsky in 2020.