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Former Justice Kelly brings high court experience to Wisconsin Supreme Court race



Election watchers are predicting that the campaign for Wisconsin Supreme Court this spring will be the most expensive court race ever in the U.S. 

Whether conservatives or liberals control the high court will be determined by whoever wins the open seat in April.  Former Justice Dan Kelly is one of four candidates on the ballot, and he says he learned during the 2020 election that “timing is everything.” 

Dan Kelly (far left) and the rest of the Wisconsin Supreme Court held a session at the Monroe County justice center in 2018. (photo: Brad Williams)

Conservative Kelly was defending his court seat he had held for four years, and received 700-thousand votes, but lost to Jill Karofsky on the same day that Democrats had an important presidential primary. 

Another thing Kelly learned was “that the people of Wisconsin really do want someone on the court who is going to apply the Constitution and the statutes as they’re written, not as some jurists might want them to be,” he told WIZM’s La Crosse Talk.

Kelly and Jennifer Dorow are the two conservatives in the high court race, along with liberals Everett Mitchell and Janet Protasiewicz. Except for Kelly, the other three candidates are now serving as circuit court judges.

Kelly says the Wisconsin process of electing justices to 10-year terms is meant to keep the judges accountable.

“Wisconsinites insist they want to be able to come back to you every once in a while and say, how (are) you doin’ with that authority that we lent to you?” he says. “We want to see a report card.”

Spending on the Supreme Court race is expected to set records, with the top two finishers in the primary moving on to April. The primary is February 21st. 

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

  1. Kent Porter

    January 30, 2023 at 9:08 am


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