|3/18/2019 8:47:00 AM|
Magnify The Impact of Your Vote
The outcome of the April 2 Supreme Court Race will help shape the future of Wisconsin for years, possibly decades. At stake are crucial issues including voting rights, gerrymandering, environmental protection, litigation over Act 10 and Lame-Duck legislation that may come before the court. In spite of the fact that Scott Walker was voted out of office, his influence remains in the Supreme Court through the judges he has appointed or supported in elections.
Although the Supreme Court race is supposed to be nonpartisan, in reality the opposing candidates usually have different political leanings. This year is no exception.
The more conservative candidate is Brian Hagedorn, Scott Walker's legal counsel who had a hand in writing the Act 10 legislation and who Walker appointed to the Second District Appeals Court in 2015. The revelation of Hagedorn's extreme anti-LBGT views prompted the conservative Wisconsin Association of Realtors to withdraw their endorsement and ask to have their $18,000 contribution returned. Likewise, the US Chamber of Commerce who often pours money into the state to support conservative court candidates, decided not to do so this year.
The more liberal candidate is Lisa Neubauer, appointed to the Second District Appeals Court in 2007 by Gov. Jim Doyle. She now serves as that court's Chief Justice. Neubauer has been endorsed by over 300 judges and law enforcement officials.
Justice Shirley Abrahamson is not seeking reelection due to health reasons; therefore, if Hagedorn is elected, the conservative majority on the court will increase 5-2. if Neubauer wins, the conservative majority would hold at 4-3. This would create an opportunity in 2020 for a shift to a liberal majority. That is when when Daniel Kelly, an ultraconservative appointed to the Supreme Court in 2016 by Walker to replace the retiring Judge David Prosser, faces an election. Kelly would be running in a year when the election for the Supreme Court coincides with a presidential primary, which is expected to attract large numbers of Democratic voters. Since such a turnout could disadvantage Kelly, the Republican legislature attempted to change the date for the presidential primary so it would no longer coincide with the Supreme Court race.
Unfortunately, in spite of all that is at stake, on April 2 we could see a voter turnout of only 10% which is a typical turnout for spring elections when there is no coinciding presidential primary. Think about that! A tiny minority of voters could have a major influence on the future of Wisconsin by who they send to the Supreme Court. Here is a chance to cast a vote that may have a greater impact than any other vote you have ever cast. Exercise your power and get to the polls on April 2.
Allen Pincus, Barneveld
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