How a Wisconsin Supreme Court race previews the abortion battles that lie ahead in 2024: conservative
On Tuesday, April 4, Wisconsin voters will elect either a liberal or a far-right MAGA Republican to a seat on the state's supreme court. The MAGA Republican is Dan Kelly, and the liberal is Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz — who has been hammering Kelly relentlessly over his severe anti-abortion views as well as his sympathy for fellow Republicans who tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in that state.
Protasiewicz, in her attack ads, is slamming Kelly as an "extremist." And she is arguing that Kelly proved her right when he gave a virtual speech at a March 21 event headlined by the Rev. Matthew Trewhella, a Christian fundamentalist pastor who believes that killing abortion providers is "justifiable homicide." Trewhella founded the radical anti-abortion group Missionaries to the Unborn back in 1990, and he has a long history of promoting violence. That includes supporting the militia movement and urging Christian fundamentalists to take up arms and receive paramilitary training.
In a statement, Protasiewicz warned, "You may have heard me say Dan Kelly is an extremist. Well, although it's shocking that he would share the stage with this man, it's not surprising…. We can't let (Kelly) anywhere close to our Supreme Court."
READ MORE:WI Supreme Court hopeful spoke at event with pastor who says killing abortion doctors is 'justifiable homicide’
In a Washington Post opinion column published on March 23, Never Trumper Jennifer Rubin stresses that the abortion debate "continues to drive the money and dominate the coverage of" the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race — which, she argues, offers a sneak preview of the abortion battles that lie ahead in 2024's elections.
"The election to fill the swing seat on the Wisconsin state Supreme Court has already shattered spending records for a judicial race," Rubin observes. "Candidates and outside groups have spent more than $20 million in the run-up to the April 4 contest. Outside spending for right-wing candidate Daniel Kelly, a staunch abortion opponent who consulted with the state party on the phony 2020 elector scheme, is outpacing spending for progressive, pro-choice Judge Janet Protasiewicz by $4.2 million. There is no better example of the way in which the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade continues to reverberate through our politics — and will continue right through the 2024 election."
Protasiewicz has been slamming Kelly as a supporter of an anti-abortion law in Wisconsin that predates the U.S. Civil War and goes back to 1849. That law was invalidated when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, but in 2022, the High Court struck down Roe with its widely unpopular ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
During an interview, Protasiewicz told Rubin, "I've heard from people in every corner of the state who are concerned about Wisconsin's extreme criminal abortion ban from 1849….. (Women) across this state shouldn't be told what to do with our bodies, especially by extremists like Dan Kelly."
READ MORE:Human rights groups press UN to get involved in American battle to save abortion rights: report
The abortion issue worked well for Democrats in the United States' 2022 midterms. Pro-choice Democrats won gubernatorial races in key swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona. And Rubin predicts that abortion will be a major issue in 2024.
"(Republicans) would do well to watch the growing evidence that Dobbs is the strongest, most-effective issue to come along in decades for Democrats," Rubin argues. "With MAGA presidential contenders, House members and senators vying with one another to sound the most devoted to a nationwide ban on abortion, the 2024 election may well come down to a referendum on whether women or politicians get to control women's bodies."
READ MORE: New Mexico Gov. advances legislation ensuring right to abortion is 'constitutionally protected'
Read Jennifer Rubin’s full Washington Post opinion column at this link.
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