Monday, November 28, 2022

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The Wisconsin Results Should Worry Republicans Everywhere

Liberal Challenger Defeats Trump-Backed Incumbent In Wis. | Morning Joe | MSNBC

My initial reaction to the upset win by Jill Karofsky in Wisconsins officially nonpartisan but intensely ideological State Supreme Court election was all about karma: Republicans went to epic lengths to hold down turnout in order to reelect conservative judge Daniel Kelly, and lost anyway.

Indeed, they lost badly, as the final returns indicated, with Karofsky winning by ten points, achieving the standard definition of a landslide in a state where virtually every recent election has been close. Given Wisconsins key role in electing Donald Trump in 2016, and its potential status as a tipping-point state this year, the judicial results may have more national significance than one might immediately discern. Charlie Sykes, a veteran Wisconsin political observer and editor-in-chief of the Bulwark, certainly thinks so:

he scope and nature of Kellys defeat was historically humiliating.

No incumbent supreme court justice had been defeated since 2008, when a conservative challenger ousted liberal justice Louis Butler. That victory turned out to be part of a remarkable run for conservatives who would go on to build a 5-2 majority on the court.

And until Monday night, no incumbent conservative justice appointed by a Republican governor had been defeated.

This was, of course, the epitome of an atypical election. But its hard not to look at the results and see a pattern that should worry Republicans everywhere, as Reid Epstein suggests:

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Question Ballot Drop Boxes

MADISON, Wis. Skeptical Wisconsin Supreme Court justices questioned Wednesday whether state law allows for voters to give their absentee ballot to someone else to return or whether drop boxes can be placed outside municipal clerk offices.


The court’s ruling later this spring or summer is expected to establish rules for the upcoming midterm election where the battleground state’s Democratic governor and Republican U.S. senator are on the ballot.

The court in February barred the use of drop boxes outside election clerk offices for the April spring election where local offices such as mayor, city council and school board were decided. But the larger question the court has yet to address is whether to allow the secure ballot boxes going forward in places such as libraries and grocery stores.

The fight is being closely watched as Republicans push to limit access to absentee ballots following President Joe Bidens 2020 win in Wisconsin, beating Donald Trump by just under 21,000 votes. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson are on the ballot in November.

State law is silent on drop boxes, but the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission has told local election officials they can be placed at multiple locations and that ballots can be returned by people other than the voter.

If Im mailing an absentee ballot and my wife takes the three steps to put it in the mailbox, have I violated the law? Hagedorn asked. Do we need to decide that question?


Judge Jill Karofsky Is Declaring Victory In The Race For A Seat On The Wisconsin Supreme Court

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Judge Jill Karofsky is declaring victory in the race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

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Judge Jill Karofsky is declaring victory in the race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

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Judge Jill Karofsky is declaring victory in the race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Affirms Agency Authority To Regulate State Water Resources

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on July 8 issued decisions in two environmental cases that had pitted the state legislature against the state Department of Natural Resources in a disagreement over which government entity has the authority to regulate water pollution and irrigation practices. In both cases, the court held 4-2 that the DNR is authorized to restrict permits in order to protect the states water resources.


The pair of cases, both initiated by Clean Wisconsin Inc. and Pleasant Lake Management District, centered on Wisconsin Act 21a 2011 law that limits state agency authority by prohibiting state agencies from taking actions not specifically authorized by the state legislature.

The first case concerned an administrative law judge‘s order that the DNR limit the size of a dairy herd causing nearby groundwater contamination. The DNR under then-Governor Scott Walker did not enforce the ALJs directive, arguing that Act 21 prohibited the agency from carrying out the order.

A Dane County Circuit Court judge in 2016 affirmed the DNR’s authority to limit the size of the dairy herd to address water pollution. The DNR appealed the decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The current DNR under Governor Tony Evers changed its position and had since claimed regulatory authority in the case.

Chief Justice Annette Ziegler joined Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky in both majority opinions. Justice Brian Hagedorn did not participate in the case.

In Upset For Republicans Liberal Ousts Trump

Jill Karofsky Wins Supreme Court Election

By John Whitesides


5 Min Read

– Liberal challenger Jill Karofsky won a hotly contested race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday, beating a conservative incumbent in state elections marred by court challenges and worries about health risks from the coronavirus pandemic.

Karofsky upset Dan Kelly, who was endorsed by Republican President Donald Trump, for a 10-year court term that could help decide future voting rights and redistricting issues in Wisconsin, a vital general election battleground.

The Supreme Court race highlighted a slate of thousands of elections held last week for state and local offices, as well as a presidential primary. The release of the results was delayed by court order until Monday, the deadline for receiving absentee ballots.

Democrats said a flurry of Republican legal challenges blocking efforts to postpone last Tuesdays in-person voting had backfired badly, and accused Republicans of putting political priorities over public safety.


Despite the result, the fact that this in-person election took place was a searing loss for Wisconsin, said Ben Wikler, chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party. Wisconsin voters will not forget this travesty.

The tumultuous process in Wisconsin, which featured an explosion in absentee balloting and long lines of voters braving health risks and stay-at-home orders, was seen as a potential preview of the national election in November if the pandemic lingers.

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Wi Supreme Court Candidate Says Not Postponing The Election Is Unfortunate

Wisconsin Supreme Court hopeful Jill Karofsky said it is unfortunate the election was not postponed, and that leaders did not follow the advice of healthcare professionals.

There was plenty of time for changes to be made, she said.


Korofsky is trying to unseat incumbent Justice Dan Kelly, who is part of the Supreme Courts five person conservative majority. The race is non-partisan, but Democrats back Karofsky and Republicans support Kelly.

Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order Monday postponing in-person voting to June but the Supreme Court struck it down 4-2 in a matter of hours. Kelly recused himself.

Karofsky told reporters Tuesday that the court’s decision is another example of how the court is broken. She said there’s no way the justices had time to truly analyze Evers’ order and the extent of his emergency powers under state law before they issued their decision. That creates the perception that the court reached the decision ahead of time.

Kelly spent Tuesday sending out tweets asking people to vote.

Karofksy has accused Kelly of being corrupt because he constantly sides with conservative groups when they come before the court.


If you feel safe going to your polling location, I would consider it a high honor and personal favor if you vote for me so that we may continue to uphold the rule of law on our Wisconsin Supreme Court. Thank you for your support and be well! 2/2

Justice Daniel Kelly

Justice Jill J Karofsky

Justice Jill J. Karofsky was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 7, 2020 and took office August 1, 2020.

Before her election to the Supreme Court, Justice Karofsky served as a judge on the Dane County Circuit Court to which she was elected in 2017.

Prior to becoming a judge, Karofsky was the executive director of the Office of Crime Victim Services for the state Department of Justice. She previously served as an assistant state attorney general and Wisconsin’s first Violence against Women Resource Prosecutor, an adjunct professor at the UW Law School, the general counsel and director of education and human resources for the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and as an assistant district attorney and deputy district attorney for Dane County.

Justice Karofsky has served on a number of boards and committees, including the Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse, the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, the Wisconsin Crime Victims Council, and the Dane County Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors. She previously co-chaired the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Response Team. She also has served on the Wisconsin Judicial Education Committee and chairs the Violence Against Women STOP Grant committee.

Karofsky earned her bachelors degree from Duke University, her masters degree from UW-Madison, and her law degree from UW Law School. While at Duke, Justice Karofsky competed on the school’s NCAA Division I cross-country and track teams.


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Jill Karofsky Wins Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

After a bitter battle, incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly has lost his bid for a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky defeated Kelly Monday in an unusual election that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the office is nonpartisan, Karofsky is backed by Democrats and Kelly is backed by Republicans. Karofskys victory narrows the courts conservative majority from 5-2 to 4-3.

> > Karofsky Says She’s ‘Seen How The Law Impacts Real People’

Surrounded by her son and daughter, Karofsky spoke to supporters in a virtual gathering via teleconference Monday night. She thanked the thousands of voters who braved long lines to vote in-person last week during the pandemic.


Look, we shouldnt have had an election on Tuesday and for many, many people, they had to decide whether they were going to risk their own health or the health of people they loved, or their lives or the lives of people that they loved, in order to vote. It was an untenable decision, Karofsky said.

Karofsky spent much of her campaign accusing Kelly of being corrupt for consistently siding with conservative groups that come before the court. She implicated him again in her victory speech, saying she believes her message resonated with voters.

Karofsky said she plans to reach out to two of the conservative justices on the court, who criticized her for knocking Kelly. She said she believes they can put aside their differences and move forward.

Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky Wins State Supreme Court Race

Liberal Jill Karofsky wins 10-year seat on Wisconsin Supreme Court

Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky won a dominant victory in last weeks Wisconsins Supreme Court race, defeating Justice Dan Kelly after more than a week of high drama over whether the election should go on amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The result was a major boost for liberals, who last year had their hopes of flipping the Supreme Courts conservative majority in 2020 dashed when their candidate lost by a half-percentage point. They next have a chance to retake the majority in 2023 when Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, a member of the four-member conservative majority is up for re-election.

Karofskys win follows a flurry of executive and legal action to delay the election, which was set against a backdrop of coronavirus pandemonium and a surge in absentee voting.

SUPREME COURT

Democrats sought unsuccessfully through executive action and lawsuits to move the election date, but Republicans resisted and state and federal courts ruled the election must go on as scheduled. The results, however, couldnt be released until six days after the vote to accommodate a court-ordered extension for absentee ballots.

Democrats said the choice by Republican leaders to hold the election during the COVID-19 pandemic represented the worst in voter suppression for making people choose between their health and voting. Republicans said the attempts to delay caused voter confusion.

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Duke Alumna Jill Karofsky Wins Wisconsin Supreme Court Seat Over Incumbent Conservative

After the nation focused its attention to the Wisconsin elections last weekwhich were held after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a delayed Election Day or mail-in ballotsJill Karofsky emerged victorious in the hotly contested State Supreme Court race. Turns out, she’s a Duke alumna.

A circuit court judge since 2017, Karofsky, Trinity ’88, was the liberal challenger to conservative incumbent Dan Kelly, whom President Donald Trump had endorsed. In an upset victory, she won by more than 160,000 votes, a significant margin in a purple state that Trump narrowly carried in 2016. Her race was one of the most important in the state, as both Democrats and Republicans had virtually uncontested presidential primaries.

The coronavirus pandemic has much of the country avoiding large gatherings. Health officials worried about holding an in-person election, and closed many polling places across the state. Officials were also concerned about Black neighborhoods in Milwaukee, which have been hit the hardest by COVID-19.

Karofsky graduated with degrees in political science and Spanish. She also ran cross country and track at Duke.

Wisconsin Democrat Jill Karofsky In Supreme Court Election Upset

Democrat Jill Karofsky has ousted Justice Daniel Kelly from his seat at Wisconsin’s top court in a shock win.

The election went ahead despite Democrat calls for it to be postponed, or held by postal voting, owing to coronavirus fears.

Justice Kelly is just the second incumbent state Supreme Court justice to be voted out since 1967. He had the support of President Donald Trump.

Wisconsin is expected to be crucial in the presidential election in November.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden will likely become the Democratic Party challenger to President Trump after his main rival Bernie Sanders dropped out and publicly endorsed him.

The US is now the country worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic with 582,594 confirmed cases and 23,649 deaths.

Wisconsin has recorded more than 3,400 coronavirus cases and 154 deaths.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court vote – and the Democratic Party primary election – went ahead last week, after the same court blocked the governor’s effort to postpone it to June.

Voters braved long queues at a limited number of polling stations where some staff wore hazmat suits.

Judges had ordered a delay in the publication of results to make sure absentee votes had arrived and been included in the count.

“Despite the result, the fact that this in-person election took place was a searing loss for Wisconsin,” said Ben Wikler, the chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party. “Wisconsin voters will not forget this travesty.”

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Weeks Of Dysfunction And Disagreement Between Top Officials Led To A Chaotic Election Day

As dozens of states have postponed their presidential primaries to May or June, Wisconsins Tuesday election proceeded as scheduled, despite the Governor telling Wisconsinites to stay at home after officials in the state legislature refused to act to postpone the election and rejected the Governors request to send every voter an absentee ballot.

For weeks leading up to the election, both Gov. Tony Evers and Republican leaders planned to hold the election as scheduled. But as COVID-19 cases rose and the state told citizens to stay at home, Evers made multiple 11th-hour attempts to move to an all-mail election or postpone it all together, which Republicans in the state legislature blocked.

After a federal judge ruled against several plaintiffs attempting to delay the election on April 2 but extended the deadline to mail in absentee ballots, Gov. Tony Evers made in a last-minute attempt to postpone the vote to June with an executive order on April 6.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and the Republican Majority Leader of the state Senate immediately challenged the order in Wisconsins majority-conservative State Supreme Court, which sided against Evers and blocked his attempt to delay the election in a 4-2 decision, with Kelly recusing himself.

Milwaukee, a city of over 500,000 people, which usually has 180 open polling locations, is operating with just five on Tuesday, creating hours-long lines to vote in many neighborhoods.

Liberal Justice Jill Karofsky Sworn Into Wisconsin Supreme Court

Bernie Sanders Endorses Jill Karofsky (D. WI) For ...
  • Saturday, August 1, 2020, 2:45pm

Liberal Justice Jill Karofsky was sworn into the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Saturday, shifting the partisan balance of the court at a time when many high-profile issues, from voter rolls to the states response to the COVID-19 pandemic, could come before it.

Karofksys swearing-in narrows the courts conservative majority from 5-2 to 4-3.

The liberal justice joined the court in an usual ceremony that took place as she was completing a 100-mile ultramarathon. Karofsky stopped about 35 miles into her run to be sworn in.

“I am so deeply moved and honored to have the confidence of the people of Wisconsin,” Karofsky told a small crowd at the event.

She warned attendees they may not always agree with her decisions, because she will be committed to upholding the law, not issuing opinions based on personal or partisan convictions.

“I’m going to be a justice that makes decisions only based on what the law is, and if some of you are frustrated with me, I think that would be a good thing,” she said. “I’m always going to do what is right, that’s what I’ve always done in my courtroom and I’ve always slept really, really well at night.”

Justice Jill Karofsky was sworn into the Wisconsin Supreme Court in an outdoor ceremony, flanked by her children, on Aug. 1, 2020. Image via Jill Karofsky for Justice Facebook stream

Karofsky was sworn in by fellow liberal Justice Rebecca Dallet, who joined the court in 2018.

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