The group Wisconsin Business Leaders for Democracy criticized right-wing state Supreme Court candidate Daniel Kelly in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday for his refusal to complete their organization's questionnaire on support for democracy.
Kelly, who previously was appointed to an incomplete term by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker and was defeated by Judge Jill Karofsky in 2020, is seeking to reclaim a seat on the court vacated by retiring arch-conservative Justice Patience Roggensack. He has done paid consulting work for the Republican National Committee, and has ties to the plot to install fake Trump electors in the state.
His opponent is Judge Janet Protasiewicz. The winner of the election will determine ideological control of the body, which has been controlled by a conservative majority for decades.
"Before the February primary, we asked every candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, regardless of party affiliation, to respond to a five-question letter, in hopes of gaining insight into their views on matters important to democracy that have appeared and will continue to appear before the court," wrote WBLD leaders Anoop Prakash, John Florsheim, and Sachin Shivaram. While Protasiewicz responded in detail, "Justice Dan Kelly did not respond or acknowledge our inquiry after several requests. Kelly’s refusal to engage in a civil dialogue on basic questions of democracy and election law is troubling at best, and disqualifying at worst."
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This comes, they wrote, at a time when "Many of the freedoms we enjoy as Wisconsinites will come before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the next few years, such as access to reproductive healthcare, our freedom to participate in the democratic process, and ruling on the fairness of current or future district maps. Perhaps most critically, the new court will hear all cases leading up to and after the 2024 presidential election, during which time the court could be asked to rule on state electors, decide on challenges to the voting process and even adjudicate the election results."
Following the publication of the editorial, Kelly issued a response published in the same paper, claiming that questions about democracy are "more appropriate for legislative candidates" and that "trying to imply my consulting work for the Republican Party would send the court into a partisan tailspin is absurd."