Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz has won a hotly contested race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, defeating former Justice Dan Kelly to give liberals a majority on the court for the first time in 15 years.
The win by Protasiewicz comes at a pivotal time for the court, and for the Democratic voters who carried her to office. Justices are all but certain to hear a challenge to Wisconsin’s pre-Civil War abortion ban, and with a liberal majority, they’re likely to consider a lawsuit that could overturn Wisconsin’s Republican-drawn legislative maps.
Issues are connected, too. Protasiewicz ran on abortion rights.
Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed a set of legislative maps passed by Republican state lawmakers, likely leaving an ongoing dispute over redistricting in the hands of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Republicans based the maps on those Evers submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, but they made a handful of changes to prevent GOP incumbents from being drawn out of their current districts.
In his veto message to Republican lawmakers, Evers called the Republican maps “gerrymandered” to protect GOP incumbents and said the “rushed process” lawmakers used to pass them within a 24-hour period resulted in two state Assembly districts that include “non-contiguous territory in violation of our State Constitution.” The contiguity issue was the basis for the Wisconsin Supreme Court declaring GOP-drawn voting districts used in recent elections unconstitutional on Dec. 22.
The veto wasn’t a surprise, but it means the Democratic governor and Republican-controlled state Legislature aren’t likely to agree on voting maps before the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s liberal majority picks new legislative districts.
Republicans could try to override Evers’ veto, but they likely lack the numbers. The maps passed the Senate 17-14 and passed the Assembly 63-35. Both margins are short of the two-thirds majority needed for a veto override.