OAN’s Shawntel Smith-Hill
12:03 PM – Wednesday, August 2, 2023
After fifteen years of being under GOP control, Wisconsin Democrats are now celebrating the start of a new era for the state’s supreme court as of Tuesday, when the court flipped to a majority Democrat control.
Hundreds of people reportedly flocked to the state Capitol to watch Justice Janet Protasiewicz begin her 10-year term with a swearing-in ceremony.
Protasiewicz previously served as a Milwaukee County judge, and her campaign quickly gained deep financial backing from Democrats, abortion rights groups, and other liberals in the race. She swiftly became the favored judicial candidate among her conservative opponent back in April.
Protasiewicz made abortion rights a centerpiece of her winning election campaign and called Republican-drawn redistricting maps “rigged.”
Protasiewicz’s victory represents an entirely new era for Wisconsin residents, as the outcomes of some of the state’s most contentious political and policy debates over the last decade may now reflect a more liberal and left-leaning viewpoint.
The formerly Republican-controlled court was just a single vote away from reversing President Joe Biden’s tight victory in the state during the 2020 elections.
As the 2024 elections approach, several politically explosive issues, such as the state’s abortion prohibition, Republican-drawn political boundary lines, and a slew of other concerns, are expected to be challenged.
Protasiewicz vowed to not allow any sort of political pressure to shift her goals.
“We all want a Wisconsin where our freedoms are protected,” she said at the ceremony. “We want a Wisconsin with a fair and impartial Supreme Court. We all want to live in communities that are safe. And we all want a Wisconsin where everyone is afforded equal justice under the law.”
Her win has also increased expectations among Democrats that officials will be quick to abolish the state’s ban on abortion, as well as place an order for new electoral maps to be drawn.
Ultimately, those in support of Protasiewicz expect that her place in the state’s supreme court will ensure a long-lasting string of political victories for Wisconsin Democrats after 15 years of rulings that primarily favored Republicans.
She will be entering the court in place of retiring Republican Pat Roggensack, who served 20 years, including six as chief justice.
Major challenges to the state’s issues will likely be on hold for a while, however, a new lawsuit challenging the GOP-drawn legislative and congressional district maps is expected to be filed within weeks.
The court is also set to hear arguments about voting and election laws before the 2024 presidential election.
Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard (D-Wis.), who attended the ceremony, said the court flipping to Democrat control “could not have occurred at a more critical time.”
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