Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates
Plus: Three aldermanic races and a north shore state senate race.
Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Wisconsin voters will find four candidates vying for a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
It’s the only race on the ballot for most voters in the city of Milwaukee. And one that won’t immediately decide the winner. But it is important.
Justice Patience Roggensack, a conservative-leaning judge, isn’t running for reelection. In her absence, the ostensibly non-partisan court has a 3-3 political split.
The court has a wide latitude to rule on everything from gerrymandering to the state abortion law to the legality of COVID-19 health orders. It can hear any case in the Wisconsin court system, including those challenging election results.
The top two vote-getters from Tuesday’s election will advance to an April 4 general election.
Milwaukee voters in a number of northside neighborhoods will also find a Common Council primary on their ballot. More details on the candidates are available in our January coverage.
The April election will also include school board races and contested judicial races for municipal court and the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Suburban communities have a number of additional races, including a Wisconsin State Senate special election to replace Alberta Darling.
Want to see what’s on your ballot and where to vote? Visit MyVote Wisconsin to see your polling place and access a sample ballot.
Below you’ll find basic information copied verbatim from candidate campaign materials and a link to any available campaign resources. If you click on the candidate’s name you’ll be brought to any stories written about the candidate. Candidate names are listed in the order they appear on the ballot.
Judge Janet Protasiewicz is a community leader, a veteran prosecutor, and a lifelong advocate for victims of crime.
In nearly a decade as Circuit Court Judge, she has earned the respect of the community, developing a reputation for being fair and impartial.
Raised in a working-class family, Judge Protasiewicz worked her way through college and law school as a waitress and nonprofit administrator. She earned her bachelor’s degree at UW Milwaukee and her law degree at Marquette University, where she later served as an Adjunct Professor of Law. Before being elected to the bench, she served more than 25 years as Assistant District Attorney, where she prosecuted serious crimes, and successfully argued in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.Throughout her career, Judge Protasiewicz has been deeply involved in the community. She has served on the boards of the Association of Marquette University Women, the American Red Cross-Wisconsin Chapter, the Polish Heritage Alliance, and Marquette University Law School Alumni Association. She belongs to the Association of Women Lawyers, TEMPO, Professional Dimensions, Serjeants Inns of Court, Foley Inns of Court, and Fairchild Inns of Court.
Judge Protasiewicz’s work has been recognized throughout the state. In 2017 she received the Community Involvement Award from the Association of Women Lawyers, and in 2018 the Wisconsin Law Journal presented her with the Women in the Law Women of Influence Award.
Judge Protasiewicz has been elected to the bench twice without opposition. She currently serves in Family Court and has also presided over homicide, sexual assault, misdemeanor, domestic violence, and drug courts. She and her husband, Gregory Sell, live in Franklin.
Justice Daniel Kelly is a judicial constitutionalist who has dedicated a lifetime to the law. He served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 2016 to 2020, a tenure marked by his rigorous scholarship, judicial humility, and an unwavering commitment to the rule of law. The scores of opinions authored by Justice Kelly during his service on the Supreme Court stand as witnesses to his commitment to our constitution and the rule of law.
Justice Kelly prepared for his service on the Supreme Court with years of experience as a litigator, law clerk, and briefly as a special prosecutor. He’s had experience protecting the smooth functioning of the free market, defending student speech on campus, and representing religious organizations’ rights to free speech. After he completed his appointment on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Justice Kelly joined the Institute for Reforming Government as a Senior Fellow authoring a groundbreaking manual on legislative oversight. Justice Kelly has been a consistent voice for judicial conservatism in Wisconsin.In the case of Wisconsin Legislature v. Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm, Justice Kelly ruled that the Evers Administration’s “Safer At Home” order was a massive overreach of executive power. The result was the restoration of our individual liberties and the end of the forced government shutdown of schools, businesses, and churches.
When McAdams v. Marquette University came before the Supreme Court, Justice Kelly ruled that the University, by suspending Professor McAdams for his conservative speech, was in breach of contract. The result was the protection of First Amendment Rights and Academic Freedom.
In Wisconsin Carry v. City of Madison, Justice Kelly ruled that the city of Madison’s attempt to limit concealed carry rights violated state statutes. The result was the protection of Second Amendment Rights.
When Tetra Tech v. Department of Revenue came before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Justice Kelly ruled that the Supreme Court won’t defer to an administrative agency’s interpretations of law. As a result, unelected bureaucrats in Madison were prevented from exercising power that did not belong to them.
Justice Kelly’s extensive knowledge of the law and his commitment to judicial conservatism have positioned him as the clear choice in the upcoming Wisconsin Supreme Court election. Wisconsin voters can count on him to defend our constitutional rights, enforce the law as it is written, and prevent judicial activism on the Supreme Court.
Judge Everett Mitchell is a candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court. The election will be held on April 4, 2023.
The Honorable Reverend Everett Mitchell was elected to the Dane County Circuit Court and presides over the Juvenile Division in Branch Four. As a juvenile court judge he hears cases involving family re-unification, juvenile delinquency, and other civil and criminal proceedings. He also oversees Dane County’s High Risk Drug Court Program.
Judge Mitchell is a graduate of Morehouse College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Currently, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School where he teaches courses on “Race, Racism and the Law” as well as the “Foundational Principles of the Juvenile Justice System.”During his tenure on the bench, Judge Mitchell has worked with colleagues to change courtroom policies to reflect trauma-informed practices, such as removing restraints and handcuffs on youth during hearings. He joined several judges in petitioning the Wisconsin Supreme Court to support changing the presumption to ensure that children in Wisconsin can attend their court hearings without restraints and handcuffs.
Judge Mitchell worked with the Madison Metropolitan School District, the second-largest district in the state, to create an Office of Youth Engagement that provides a bridge for youth involved in the criminal justice system to educational programming. Judge Mitchell works tirelessly to ensure the youth under his jurisdiction are treated with respect and dignity. While this may be common sense, it is not always common practice.
Judge Mitchell has lectured or spoken at colleges and universities, national conferences, community events, corporate events, professional development workshops, and in front of many other diverse audiences. Judge Mitchell’s social justice lens is steeped in his calling and commitment to justice and equity.
First and foremost, I am a judicial conservative who will not legislate from the bench. Serving as a Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge for more than 11 years, I have been elected to multiple terms by constituents who depend on me and look to me to uphold constitutional enforcement of our laws, and to recognize the rights and responsibilities of individuals and organizations. In my 26-year legal career, I have evaluated, advised on, prosecuted, defended, and judged a wide array of cases and issues. With years of experience representing clients and presiding in cases involving civil, business, family, and criminal matters, I am fully aware of how our state’s laws and legal system must operate. In criminal cases, I not only deeply respect victims’ rights and our society’s need for law and order, but also, I understand and respect defendants’’ constitutional rights. In addition, the Justices of the Supreme Court have acknowledged my abilities by naming me Chief Judge of Third Judicial District and my peers have selected me as the Chairperson of our state’s Chief Judges.
Like many others who have served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I have worked in our state’s courts as an advocate, as a judge and as an individual responsible for managing a justice system that must work just as hard for victims’ rights as it does for defendants’ rights. I respect and adhere to our state and federal constitutions and the laws that protect our society and provide a safe and fair living and business environment in our state. And just as importantly, I am a working mom next door who cares deeply about the citizens of Wisconsin – I coach youth sports, I care for my family; I want to provide the same personal and professional opportunities to everyone in Wisconsin.
I am not constrained by political ideologies and academic thinking – I have proven my commitment to our state and federal constitutions and the laws established by our government. As a justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I will not legislate from the bench. I know that voters yearn for this type of commitment, and they deserve nothing less. Unburdened by any authority other than the law and informed by my service as an advocate and a judge, I have seen where the rubber meets the road in the law and in our society. I have the demeanor, temperament, experience, and command of the law that is necessary to make a superb justice on the Supreme Court. I have no doubt that the voters of Wisconsin will agree and see me as the best candidate and a justice for all of Wisconsin’s residents.
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