MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin residents will soon cast ballots to elect the next justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. TMJ4's Charles Benson and Shannon Sims interviewed all four candidates to help voters as they make the crucial decision.
The nonpartisan primary is scheduled for Feb. 21, and the two top vote-getters will advance to the nonpartisan general election on April 4. The seat opened up when Justice Patience Roggensack decided to not run for re-election.
Conservative-leaning justices currently control the high court 4-3. Whoever wins the election then will be able to rule on issues from abortion, redrawing election districts to other important topics.
Watch our interviews with all four candidates, and read summaries of their experiences, below:
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow is among four candidates running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Judge Dorow has been on the bench since 2011 after being appointed by Gov. Scott Walker and then elected twice. She was in private practice and worked with the Waukesha County District Attorney's office before becoming a judge.
Dorow describes herself as a judicial conservative in the non-partisan primary election on Feb. 21. She gained national attention for presiding over the trial of Darrell Brooks, who was charged in the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack.
She was raised in Waukesha, graduated from Marquette University and has a law degree from Regent University Law School.
Watch TMJ4's full interview with Dorow:
Former Justice Dan Kelly is running again to be on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He was appointed to the job by Gov. Scott Walker in 2016. This is Kelly's second run at a ten-year term on the state Supreme Court after losing in the 2020 election.
Kelly identifies himself as a voice for judicial conservatism, with nearly 20 years in private practice. He graduated from Carroll University and has a law degree from Regent University of Law and now lives in Waukesha County.
Kelly lists his vote on the court to overturn the Safer at Home order by Gov. Evers's Administration during the pandemic as one of his accomplishments.
The nonpartisan primary race is Feb. 21. Only two candidates will advance to the April election.
Watch TMJ4's full interview with Kelly:
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell is one of four candidates running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the Feb. 21 primary. Mitchell is considered a liberal candidate in the nonpartisan race - only two candidates will advance to the April election.
Judge Mitchell was elected to the circuit court in 2016 and presides over the juvenile division in Dane County. He also oversees the Dane County High-Risk Drug Court Program.
Judge Mitchell graduated from Morehouse College, earned a master's in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School in 2010.
In addition to teaching a course on juvenile justice at Wisconsin, the ordained minister is a senior pastor at a Madison church.
Watch TMJ4's full interview with Mitchell:
Judge Janet Protasiewicz is one of four candidates running to be on the state Supreme Court. She's been a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge since 2014 and is considered one of two liberal candidates seeking the job.
Judge Protasiewicz graduated from UW-Milwaukee and has a law degree from Marquette University. She has been elected twice to the bench. Prior to being a judge, Protasiewicz worked 25 years as a prosecutor in the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office.
Protasiewicz has been outspoken on the campaign trail and in campaign TV spots about her support for a woman's right to make her own decision on abortion.
Watch TMJ4's full interview with Protasiewicz:
TMJ4's Jackson Danbeck contributed to this report.