By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz jumped into the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court Wednesday, bringing with her a far left record as a soft-on-crime prosecutor and a progressive justice judge.
Protasiewicz is running to fill the seat of Justice Patience Roggensack, who is not seeking a third 10-year term.
There’s much at stake in the election, slated for next April. Roggensack is part of a four-justice conservative majority on the seven-member Supreme Court, although Justice Brian Hagedorn has frequently sided with liberals.
Protasiewicz’s press release announcing her candidacy is replete with revisionist history.
“I’ve got simple Wisconsin values,” she said. “If you break the law, you should be held accountable. If you work hard and play by the rules, the government should leave you alone. And if your rights are violated, you should get a fair shot to demand justice.”
Her press release values, however, run counter to her actual legal record.
Protasiewicz was a Milwaukee County prosecutor for more than 25 years, spending seven years as an assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm. She was a good fit for an office notorious for its soft-on-crime policies, a powerful partner in Milwaukee County’s revolving-door criminal justice system. Chisholm’s office has helped to cheaply release a long line of career violent criminals who have gone on to be charged with murder, most egregiously the man accused of killing six people and injuring scores more in last year’s Waukesha Christmas parade massacre.
Protasiewicz insists she has “spent more than 35 years in the law, defending the rights of victims, protecting children and upholding the law.”
As a judge, Protasiewicz’s progressive sentencing has led to more tragedy. In 2015, she gave Eric J. Smiley Jr. just five months in jail for drug crimes and illegally carrying a concealed weapon despite the fact that he had a lengthy rap sheet of gun and drug crimes by that time. Two years later, Smiley, 21, and two 17-year-old males, were charged in the murder of a Milwaukee building inspector — shot to death while on duty.
“Nearly every time police have arrested Smiley — at 21 the oldest of the three charged in (Greg “Ziggy”) Zyszkiewicz’s killing — he has had a gun,” a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story from March 2017 noted.
Protasiewicz claims “our most closely-held constitutional rights are under attack by radical right-wing extremists.”
This partisan liberal judge signed the petition to recall former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, as she worked in the district attorney’s office that was conducting an unconstitutional John Doe investigation against the Republican and, eventually, dozens of conservative organizations in the state.
Protasiewicz was “an active Democrat for years, and demonstrated at the Capitol over Act 10 and signed a Walker recall petition, before letting her party membership expire before her judicial run,” the Journal Sentinel’s Bruce Vielmetti reported in 2013. “She has said political views never play a role when a lawyer is pressing a case in the courtroom.”
Protasiewicz has been endorsed by her former boss, John Chisholm, the corrupt DA who led the secret John Doe probe. She’s also had the backing of AFSCME, former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, state Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) and Milwaukee City Council member Marina Dimitrijevic, formerly Milwaukee County Board charwoman. They are all extreme liberals.
Protasiewicz also was endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin in her failed run for the Milwaukee Country Circuit Branch seat she now holds (She was defeated in 2013 by conservative Rebecca G. Bradley, who now serves on the Supreme Court).
The liberal judge is a loyal abortion supporter. In her campaign announcement, Protasiewicz refers to abortion — the killing of unborn human beings — as “the constitutional right to privacy” (the lexicon of the left). She says the right to have an abortion has been “settled law” for most of her life. Protasiewicz fails to mention that there is nothing in the constitution about abortion, or the federal government’s role in protecting it. As the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month, Roe v. Wade, the nearly 50-year-old ruling that could soon be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, was built on a shaky legal foundation.
“I’m running to restore integrity to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and get politics out of the courtroom,” she said.
That’s an interesting take from a judge with Protasiewicz’s extensive liberal political background.