Tool of the Week: Janet Protasiewicz, justice for the left

Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 23, 2023

MADISON — Wisconsin Supreme Court justices are supposedly nonpartisan, but their judicial philosophies generally run to the right or left.

Most candidates for the bench at least pretend to keep politics out of the law.

Janet Protasiewicz isn’t most Supreme Court candidates.

The Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge is proud to wear her liberal politics on her robe sleeve.

She recently told WKOW’s Capital City Sunday that when it comes to legal questions like abortion, legislative maps and cultural issues, she embraces the “progressive label.”

Her record makes the case without her testimony.

As Empower Wisconsin reported last week, liberal Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm endorsed Protasiewicz in her unsuccessful run for Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge in 2013. Protasiewicz went on to lose to Rebecca G. Bradley, now one of four conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The upcoming election — featuring two conservatives and two liberals — will determine whether the left or the right controls the court.

Chisholm, whose office has been widely criticized for its lenient plea deals and low bail recommendations that have set killers free, starred in a campaign ad at the time touting Protasiewicz as tough on crime. Protasiewicz served as an assistant DA under Chisholm for several years.

“Janet’s tough,” Chisholm asserts in the commercial. “She’s prosecuted some of the most dangerous criminals in Milwaukee County.”

She’s released some of them, too, without any jail time.

Protasiewicz 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.

She was “an active Democrat for years, and demonstrated at the Capitol over Act 10… 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.”

That’s very hard to believe.

Money talks, and Protasiewicz is the beneficiary of a boatload of campaign money. She has outraised all of her opponents combined, taking in more than $924,000.

Guess where that money is coming from? Liberals, Including the maximum $20,000 contribution from Dem sugar mama Karla Jurvetson. In case you’re scoring along at home, Jurvetson is a physician, philanthropist, and large-sum donor to Democratic candidates and PACs. “She is a long-time Democratic activist and donor who rose to prominence during the 2018 election cycle when she gave $6.9 million to Democratic political causes, making her the third-highest female donor in politics, and 18th-highest donor overall,” according to Influence Watch.

And less than a month before the Supreme Court primary election, Protasiewicz is about to dump that money on campaign ads touting her judicial independence. On Friday, her campaign announced it has booked $700,000 in television ads in the Milwaukee, Green Bay, Wausau-Rhinelander, Madison, and La Crosse-Eau Claire media markets. A digital ad campaign is expected, too.

Of course, Protasiewicz won’t talk about what a tool of the left she is in those ads, but that’s what she is.

And this week, Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz is Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week.

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