Your Voice, Your Vote: Daniel Kelly, conservative for Wisconsin Supreme Court

An interview with conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Daniel Kelly on the race that will determine the balance of the court.
Updated: Mar. 28, 2023 at 10:00 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - We’re now one week away from voters deciding the outcome of the most expensive race for a judicial seat in Wisconsin history -- and possibly the entire country.

Liberal candidate and Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz is facing conservative former Justice Daniel Kelly. Action 2 News recently sat down with both (our interview with Judge Protasiewicz airs Wednesday on Action 2 News at 10).

Spending in this race is expected to top $30 million by next week, according to an analysis by

Money is coming from all over as abortion rights, election boundaries and other issues could be ruled on by the next justice, who will also determine whether the court has a liberal or conservative majority.

In the front lobby of WBAY. we sat down with Daniel Kelly and asked what makes him a better choice than his opponent, Janet Protasiewicz.

“So when I go around the state of Wisconsin, I talk about the things that courts do. I talk about the constitution, the rule of law, judicial philosophy, what it takes to be a good jurist, and my opponent goes around the state talking about, well, politics,” Kelly said.

Whoever wins will almost certainly weigh in on the state’s 1849 abortion ban as the state attorney general has filed a lawsuit challenging its legality.

“The proposition he’s putting before the court is that a 1985 statute on abortion impliedly repealed the 1849 statute on abortion. So that’s the way a legal question comes to the court. So our job as jurists would be to answer that question: Does a later statute impliedly repeal a former statute? The subjects on which the statutes are addressing are just not really relevant to the analysis,” Kelly said.

While Kelly has been endorsed by Pro-Life groups, he won’t commit to upholding the ban. So there’s a chance he could strike down the 1849 abortion law if elected? “Yeah, if that’s what the law requires,” he answered.

Kelly also says the issue of redistricting isn’t a court issue and should be decided in the state legislature unless the boundaries don’t meet specific requirements by law.

He’s also critical of Protasiewicz for openly calling the maps rigged.

“The responsibility of a juror is to come to each case with an open mind and consider the arguments made by the parties for the case and not to prejudge them. If you’re going to prejudge issues, why bother to have a case?”

As for some of the attacks and allegations made during this campaign against him, Kelly is especially critical of a TV ad calling him a monster for defending a child sex predator.

“I know she wants to use that to make me look bad, but think about what she’s saying. She’s saying the only reason I would be on that case is because of approval of the crimes of which they were accused of committing. Now that’s a thoroughly preposterous statement. In fact, I think the technical definition of that is stupid,” Kelly said.