By Alexis Flores
On Tuesday, Justice Janet Protasiewicz was sworn into the Wisconsin Supreme Court amongst hundreds of supporters in the state Capitol, happy to see the court shift from a conservative majority to a liberal majority for the first time in 15 years.
Justice Protasiewicz replaced retiring conservative Justice Pat Roggensack, who served 20 years on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, including six as chief justice.
Justice Protasiewicz being elected is a win for Wisconsin democrats, with many issues concerning politics and policy being decided on by the state Supreme Court; many of these decisions over the past 15 years favoring Republicans. The issues of abortion and the redistricting on political maps are two issues that have been highly debated, and that Protasiewicz focused on during her election winning campaign. It is expected that decisions made regarding these topics will be more aligned to Democratic ideologies.
While this win has a political impact, her investiture speech focused on wanting the courts to be impartial and equal for all Wisconsinites, regardless of political affiliations. “I am committed to protecting our freedoms, and I’m committed to fairness and impartiality in our justice system. It’s not only what the people of Wisconsin expect, it’s what they deserve, and what the oath I have taken demands.”
During her roughly 20 minute speech, Protasiewicz also shared her hopes for more transparency from the courts and how decisions are made, and more trust being built between the judicial systems and Wisconsinites. “Universal to Wisconsinites, all across our beautiful state… Everyone should get a fair shot to demand a shot at justice and not feel like the thumb is on the scale against them.” She continued that this feeling became stronger as she traveled across the state during her campaign.
Wisconsin State Senator Melissa Agard, “By electing Judge Protasiewicz in April, the people of Wisconsin made the choice to reinstate fairness to our state’s highest court, defend our democracy, and protect individual liberties and freedoms.”
Justice Protasiewicz has over 35 years of experience in law as a public defender, prosecutor, and judge, her most recent position serving as a Milwaukee County judge before choosing to run for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.