Abortion and crime top conservative complaints about new Wisconsin Supreme Court justice

Wisconsin Supreme Court
Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Democratic-supported Janet Protasiewicz participates in a debate Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) Morry Gash/AP

Abortion and crime top conservative complaints about new Wisconsin Supreme Court justice

If you ask some conservatives in Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz is an unhinged, soft-on-crime, abortion-loving liberal who courted out-of-state megadonors in order to disrupt and dismantle the values of hard-working Wisconsinites.

The outright contempt for Protasiewicz, who beat conservative candidate former Justice Daniel Kelly Tuesday night in a race that was pitched as the most important of the 2023 election cycle, has been palpable from the start and even shined through during Kelly’s concession speech.

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“I wish that in a circumstance like this, I would be able to concede to a worthy opponent, but I do not have a worthy opponent to which I can concede,” he said. “This was the most deeply deceitful, dishonorable, despicable campaign that I have ever seen run for the courts.”

Much of the problem conservatives had with Protasiewicz was her stance on abortion. She started her campaign supporting a woman’s right to choose but by the end had turned it into a rallying cry that energized young voters and women across the state to come out and vote in droves.

“Our state is taking a step forward to a better and brighter future where our rights and freedoms will be protected,” she said at her Tuesday night victory party.

Conservatives also took issue with Protasiewicz’s sentencing record. They funneled millions of dollars into attack ads that highlighted several instances where she gave slaps on the wrist to violent offenders only to have them go on to commit more egregious acts. Kelly and his allies called her “No Jail Janet” and drew attention to three specific court cases that ended in tragedy.

In one, Protasiewicz suspended the prison sentence of Matthew Neumann, a convicted domestic abuser with a long criminal record who terrorized women and later went on to kill two of his cleaning company employees and burned their bodies on a hunting property.

In another, Protasiewicz sentenced a man who broke his wife’s face to six months in jail. Two years later, in a fit of rage, Lararick Spade showed up outside his estranged wife’s home and nearly shot her to death.

In the third, Protasiewicz suspended a nearly 6-year sentence for Qantrell Bounds, a man who assaulted and raped a 13-year-old girl, recorded it, and posted the incident online. Protasiewicz suspended the jail sentence, opting instead to give him probation.


When pressed, Protasiewicz gave feeble excuses for her decisions and, in some cases, claimed she hadn’t been lenient, only to have transcripts and court records prove her wrong. She also claimed that the cases were cherry-picked to make her look bad.

Conservatives were also peeved with Protasiewicz for calling the state’s congressional maps, which favor Republicans, “rigged.” Her win opens the door to challenges to the current electoral maps. Six of the state’s eight members of Congress are Republicans. Two House Republicans, Reps. Bryan Steil (R-WI) and Derrick Van Orden (R-WI), could be at risk if their districts are redrawn.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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