First there was Kansas. Now there’s Wisconsin. Now we have conclusive evidence that organizing continues to make a vast difference in the progressive—or humane—agenda.
In Kansas, the first state to attempt to outlaw abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, organizers got busy and turned out voters, who overwhelmingly rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have allowed legislators to enact abortion restrictions. In the August 2022 referendum, the anti-abortion language was rejected by a decisive 59 to 41%– in a state has more registered Republicans than Democrats.
In Wisconsin on April 4, 2023, voters have tolerated a strong turn to the right with anti-labor, anti-choice, anti-fair maps initiatives eroding a formerly strong progressive environment, corrected course by electing Janet Protasiewicz over former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice Daniel Kelly. Organizers there turned out a record high percentage of voters, topping the former record of 36% of the voting age population early in the counting.
The Supreme Court vote was 55.5% to 44.5% for Protasiewicz–a margin of more than 160,000.The outcome of the race will determine the course of everything from Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban to be decided in August and congressional and legislative maps that all but ensure GOP control. Wisconsin is one of 14 states to directly elect its Supreme Court justices, and winners get 10-year terms.
Protasiewicz ‘s election was the first time in 15 years Democrats have held a majority on the Court, though the elections for court are nominally nonpartisan. Barring the unexpected, the victory also assures that liberals will hold a majority on the court ahead of next year’s presidential election, when Wisconsin — the perennial swing state — is expected to again be pivotal in the race for the White House. If election lawsuits are filed in state court, Protasiewicz will be one of the seven justices who have the final say on the merits.