Milwaukee Judge Janet Protasiewicz won a nationally watched judicial election Tuesday, which will likely result in a more liberal tilt for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the coming years.
The 60-year-old liberal, who was supported by Democrats and progressive groups, defeated former Justice Daniel Kelly, who was backed heavily by Republican-aligned organizations and activists.
Much of the race was defined by reproductive rights and ongoing litigation about the Badger State’s pre-Civil War law banning abortion in almost all cases except if the mother’s life is in jeopardy.
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In March, Wisconsin Republican legislators want to pass a bill that would carve out exceptions for rape and incest.
But Democratic Gov. Tony Evers immediately rejected that idea, saying that he would veto any measure that did not codify abortion access as it was under Roe v. Wade, which the U.S. Supreme Court knocked down last June.
Kelly dodged commenting on the state law during the campaign, but he was endorsed by anti-abortion groups such as Wisconsin Right to Life. He wrote in a 2012 blog post that abortion “takes the life of an unborn child.”
Protasiewicz, who had the support of liberal organizations such as Planned Parenthood, described the 1849 Wisconsin law as “draconian.”
During the race she regularly talked about how she had been supportive of abortion rights her entire life.