In Wisconsin on Tuesday, April 4, voters will elect either a far-right MAGA Republican or a liberal to a seat on the state's supreme court. Republican Dan Kelly is up against liberal Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz, who has been railing against Kelly relentlessly over his severe anti-abortion views as well as for his sympathy for election denialists.
Kelly has given Protasiewicz plenty of material to work with. On March 21, he spoke at an event headlined by the Rev. Matthew Trewhella — a Christian fundamentalist who has described killing abortion providers as "justifiable homicide." Trewhella, a supporter of the militia movement, has also called for evangelicals to receive paramilitary training and wage a holy war against adversaries.
The seat on the Milwaukee Supreme Court that Kelly and Protasiewicz are competing for is up for grabs because of former Chief Justice Pat Roggensack's retirement. In an op-ed published by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on March 28, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Ellen Brostrom — who is Roggensack's daughter — endorses Protasiewicz and emphasizes that Kelly is "unfit" for the position.
"As judges, we take an oath to support the constitutions of the United States and the State of Wisconsin," Brostrom argues. "Instead of supporting our constitutional rights, however, Kelly has worked to undermine the constitution and our democracy. He has never served as a front-line judge, and instead, most recently served as a legal advisor to the Republican Party of Wisconsin as it implemented the fake elector scheme — part of a multifaceted conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election."
The judge continues, "In the United States, we proudly elect our leaders. Our leaders do not install themselves. Our entire democracy — indeed, the very idea of America — is built on this bedrock constitutional right. Whatever our flaws and shortcomings, America, and Wisconsin specifically, has been a 'city on a hill' for the peaceful transition of power."
Wisconsin is among the five states that former President Donald Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020. And Brostrom slams Kelly for being sympathetic to the MAGA Republicans who tried to overturn the democratic election results in a state that now-President Joe Biden won fairly.
"Instead of peaceful transition, however, since the last presidential election, the country has been subject to a massive fraud designed to convince fellow citizens that the election was stolen," Brostrom explains. "It seems the losing side — led by President Trump, Fox News, and his allies — believes the results should be overturned by any means necessary. To that end, they have intentionally lied to the American people and conspired to keep Trump illegally in power."
Brostrom continues, "Kelly assisted in this scheme, and that makes him unfit to serve on our state's highest court…. I believe we all have a patriotic and moral obligation to vote against candidates who have helped this conspiracy along, even if we are not fully comfortable with their opponent or would not vote for them otherwise. Kelly helped this conspiracy along, working to overturn the 2020 presidential election. That is not 'conservative,' and it is not American. Kelly is unfit to serve on our highest court."