Former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice runs for the high court again

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly at a news conference in the court chamber in May...
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly at a news conference in the court chamber in May 2019, in Madison, Wisc. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)(NBC15)
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 3:39 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, who served for four years before losing election in 2020, is running for an open spot on the court next year.

The race will determine majority control of the court which currently has a 4-3 conservative majority. Kelly, a conservative, joins two liberals who have previously announced their candidacies. Those are Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz.

The top two-vote getters in the February primary will advance to the April election.

Current Justice Pat Roggensack is retiring rather than seek a third 10-year term.

Kelly lost handily to Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky in April 2020. The race is officially nonpartisan, but liberal groups poured more than $2.4 million into the race for Karofsky, while conservatives spent more than $2.5 million for Kelly — who also drew then-President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

When conservatives held a 5-2 majority on the state Supreme Court, the Republican-controlled Legislature was able to enact laws that enhanced the GOP’s position, including a voter ID requirement and limits on labor unions, despite legal challenges from Democrats.

Kelly’s announcement of his candidacy Thursday said “nothing less than the rule of the law is at stake.”

“I am incredibly grateful to those all over the state who have encouraged me to run. They know the importance of electing a justice with a track record of protecting our Constitution, faithfully applying the law as written, and respecting the people of Wisconsin as his bosses,” he wrote.