Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz will be a no-show for a key debate Tuesday sponsored by the liberal American Constitution Society. Now, according to the Russ-Feingold-led ACS, the debate is off, The Wisconsin Daily Star has learned
The campaign for conservative candidate Daniel Kelly told the group that he would still attend the event — originally scheduled for noon Tuesday in Milwaukee — with or without his opponent. The Constitution Society said thanks, but no thanks. They are canceling the debate.
It’s an interesting political decision to make a month before Wisconsin’s high stakes Supreme Court election to decide whether conservatives or liberals control the court. But political insiders tell The Daily Star Protasiewicz is following the Democrat playbook, the Joe Biden bunker campaign policy of spending lots of money on TV ads and keeping a low campaign profile. One source said the liberal Milwaukee County Judge is doing what former Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, a Democrat, did in his failed race last year against incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson: hiding out.
“Ducking accountability is no way to earn voters’ trust, but Politician Protasiewicz clearly cares more about the out of state donors who have funded 96 percent of her campaign,” Kelly campaign spokesman Jim Dick said in a press release.
The liberal candidate couldn’t have asked for a friendlier debate host.
The American Constitution Society is an organization is a “diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, advocates, and many others.” Its mission in part is to “redress the founding failures of our Constitution and enduring inequities in our laws in pursuit of realized equality.”
ACS is all-in on its version of Supreme Court “reform”, insisting the “conservative supermajority is threatening our democratic legitimacy by failing to uphold constitutional guardrails.” The organization considers voter integrity laws to be “voter suppression”, and loathes the kind of textualist reading of law that has ended federal control over abortion law through Roe v. Wade.
Former Wisconsin U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, a Democrat, serves as the society’s president.
Protasiewicz should feel right at home. She has excoriated the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, a decision that federally protected a “woman’s right to choose” to terminate the lives of more than 50 million preborn human beings.
The liberal Supreme Court candidate has said she embraces the liberal label.
“In regard to the progressive label, I embrace that when it comes to issues such as gerrymandering,” she told 27 News in openly criticizing the political maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature and mostly upheld by the conservative majority state Supreme Court. Should she win a seat on the bench, the redistricting issue will mostly likely come back before the court and its newest “gerrymandering” critic.
The judge has said she’s happy to discuss her personal views, but insists they won’t inform her deliberations on the state’s high court.
Protasiewicz’s campaign did not respond to The Daily Star’s request for comment, including the simple question? Will Judge Protasiewicz be attending Tuesday’s debate? An American Constitution Society official did not return a follow-up email from The Daily Star.
Kelly, a former state Supreme Court justice, would have attended the debate to “explain why the rule of law as written and the Constitution are the only things Supreme Court Justices should consider when deciding cases,” according to his campaign.
“If the ‘Rule of Law’ is allowed to be replaced by the ‘Rule of Janet’ on the court, the Constitution falls and the protection of all our rights goes with it,” the campaign said in the release.
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