In a Feb. 21 primary, Daniel Kelly and Janet Protasiewicz emerged as the two highest vote-getters, advancing them to the nonpartisan general election on April 4. Protasiewicz earned the most votes in the February primary and Kelly the second most. The ultimate winner will serve a 10-year term on the state Supreme Court.
The race is officially nonpartisan, so neither Protasiewicz nor Kelly is running as a Democrat or Republican. But both candidates have touted their ideological bona fides as well as their numerous endorsements.
Kelly is a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who served on the court from his appointment by then Gov. Scott Walker in 2016 until he was voted out in 2020. He describes himself as a “constitutional conservative” and on his campaign website charges that his opponents are “judicial activists who seek to impose their own political agenda on our state.”
Amid a contentious campaign, Kelly has earned the endorsement of three statewide pro-life groups — Wisconsin Family Action, Pro-Life Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Right to Life.
In contrast, Protasiewicz has garnered endorsements from numerous top Democrats in Wisconsin. Protasiewicz currently is a judge for Branch 24 of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in Wisconsin, having been elected to that court in 2014.
On abortion, Protasiewicz has spoken about her views in a televised ad wherein she says she believes “in a woman’s freedom to make her own decision on abortion.”
What have Catholic leaders said?
In a Feb. 14 newsletter, the Wisconsin Catholic Conference noted the upcoming spring primary election and reminded voters that as Catholics, “we are called to form our consciences in light of Church teaching.”
“Human reason tells us that the right to life is the first and fundamental right. Without life, none of our basic human rights — such as food, shelter, liberty — can be exercised,” the conference said in the newsletter.
“In addition, our Catholic faith holds that every human being, at every stage of life, is made in the image and likeness of God. When we encounter one another, we should do so with the understanding that we are encountering someone of transcendent worth, who like us is deserving of respect and protection from conception to natural death.”
Jonah McKeown is a staff writer and podcast producer for Catholic News Agency. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has worked as a writer, as a producer for public radio, and as a videographer. He is based in St. Louis.