Judge Jennifer Dorow announces run for Wisconsin Supreme Court

Judge Jennifer Dorow
Posted at 12:14 PM, Nov 29, 2022

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Judge Jennifer Dorow, who became famous in Wisconsin as the presiding judge of the trial of Darrell Brooks, will officially announce she is running for Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday.

That's according to Dorow's husband, who broke the news to TMJ4's Charles Benson.

In a statement on Tuesday, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler said in part, “Judge Jennifer Dorow is entering this race as yet another extremist Scott Walker appointee—a brand of politics Wisconsinites have rejected time and again."

Alejandro Verdin, the campaign manager for Judge Janet Protasiewicz, released the following statement Tuesday:

"As a judge and 25-year prosecutor, Judge Janet Protasiewicz has spent her career keeping our community safe and upholding the law. Judge Janet brings a common sense approach to the bench and she will vigorously defend our constitutional freedoms and women’s right to make her own decision when it comes to abortion. Judge Janet provides a clear contrast with right-wing extremists like Jennifer Dorow and Dan Kelly, who are both radically out of touch with the concerns of Wisconsinites.”

Justice Daniel Kelly also released the following statement Tuesday, “I encourage everyone to consider each candidate carefully. I’m confident voters will put their trust in my proven record of upholding the rule of law and protecting our constitution.”

Judge Everett Mitchell released the following statement:

“Since our announcement in June, we’ve made stops up and down this state speaking with voters on all sides of the political spectrum who are concerned about the direction of our state and who want a better future for all Wisconsinites. And Judge Dorow’s entrance into the race, with her extreme, conservative views, highlights exactly why the stakes are so high. It’s more clear than ever to me that justice isn’t what you say, it’s what you do. Judges like Dan Kelly and Jennifer Dorow will use their pre-determined conservative political beliefs to make judgments, not justice. That’s not what Wisconsinites deserve.”

Candidates for the state Supreme Court start circulating their nomination papers on Dec. 1.

Judge Dorow's interview with TMJ4 News

TMJ4's Charles Benson interviewed Judge Dorow one-on-one on Tuesday on the heels of one of the biggest trials in Wisconsin history: of the now convicted and sentenced suspect in the Waukesha Christmas parade attack, Darrell Brooks.

Dorow told Benson then that she planned on making a state Supreme Court decision within the coming days.

WATCH: Dorow talks about being a working mom

Judge Dorow most proud of being a working mom

A jury convicted Brooks on six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, for hitting and killing six people during the parade. Judge Dorow sentenced Brooks to several life sentences in prison without the chance for parole, after hours of emotional remarks from victims' families as well as Brooks' own mother and grandmother.

During the interview with TMJ4 News, Dorow said she couldn't talk specifics about the case because Brooks is filing an appeal. But Dorow talked at length about the team effort among her colleagues during the trial, her pride in being a working mom and her thought process when it comes to running for an elected position. Dorow also chatted about the massive amount of 'fan mail' she received during the Brooks trial and "Judge Dorow" becoming a costume during Halloween.

Dorow's proudest achievement? While she admits the Brooks case was her biggest ever, she is most proud of her achievements as a working mother.

"One of my crowning achievements is being a working mom," Dorow tells TMJ4 News. "Not everyone is told they can have it all. There is a lot of work and a lot of sacrifices."

Watch the full interview with TMJ4's Charles Benson below:

Judge Jennifer Dorow says she'll decide soon on run for Wisconsin Supreme Court

How would Dorow fit on the Wisconsin Supreme Court?

Two liberal judges and one former conservative judge are already in the running for state Supreme Court: Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly. A Feb. 21 primary will whittle down the field to two finalists for the April 4 election.

Judge Dorow received national attention while presiding over the Darrell Brooks trial. GOP leaders want to hold a conservative majority in the court - the same court that had already given big wins for Republicans over the last ten years. Conservative-leaning Justice Patience D. Roggensack decided to retire from the top court after 10 years. Liberals meanwhile want to flip control of the court ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

What did Judge Dorow do before the Darrell Brooks trial?

Dorow is a former criminal defense attorney appointed by former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Dorow has been elected twice to the Waukesha County Circuit Court. She is reportedly active in the Republican Party in the county, according to the AP.

A 'hero's thanks': Judge Dorow receives hundreds of fan letters and emails after the Darrell Brooks trial

As TMJ4 News previously reported, the Darrell Brooks trial put Dorow in the national spotlight. That spotlight came with hundreds of letters, emails and gifts from viewers across the country thanking her for her work.

TMJ4 crews went to the Waukesha County Courthouse to see what other sort of mail and reaction the judge received from the trial. We left with a stack of 25 individual notes all praising Judge Dorow, nearly half of them also came with a bouquet of flowers. That wasn’t even a fraction of the hundreds of letters and gifts sent her way.

Of the 25 letters TMJ4 accessed, 11 states across the country were represented; from California to Pennsylvania to Massachusetts.

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