NBC's Chuck Todd on Wisconsin Supreme Court race and Trump indictment

TMJ4's Chief Political Reporter Charles Benson talked about the week's big stories with NBC's moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd.
Posted at 8:58 AM, Apr 02, 2023

One day- two historic moments.

Donald Trump is likely to be in court Tuesday to face criminal charges. A first ever for American president.

Tuesday is also Election Day in Wisconsin for the most expensive State Supreme Court race in American history.

TMJ4's Chief Political Reporter Charles Benson talked about the week's big stories with NBC moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd.

The two historic events on April 4 will take place hundreds of miles apart, but there's a common thread emerging with an unhealthy perception of the politicization of the judicial system from both sides of the political divide.

"Look, there's always been a political element to our judiciary, you have politicians appoint members of the judiciary, said Todd, you're going to have that when you have full on elections for members of the judiciary or for prosecutors."

The election Tuesday will determine the ideological balance of a court that has leaned conservative for more than a decade.

"I think that's what's happened particularly in Wisconsin, and since the state itself is so divided, the court itself is so divided then the election itself is divided," Todd said.

But no matter the outcome, Todd believes the perception of judicial fairness at the federal and state levels has already been undermined.

"The more we sort of put the judiciary through the prism of our political system, I think the worst the judiciary is going to look to the public."

The Wisconsin Supreme Court race has not only caught the nation's attention because of the implications on the state's 1849 abortion ban law, redistricting maps and election laws, but also for the staggering sums of campaign spending.

It's now the most expensive race ever for a justice seat, more than $40 million in campaign spending according to WisPolitics.

"I was shocked when it was a $10 million and then at $20 million, right? These things keep growing and it keeps getting more expensive, and especially you throw in the Dobbs decision, it makes abortion the be all end all in the state Supreme Court."

How can independence and trust be restored? Todd says there is a solution, but it seems extremely improbable in today's political environment.

It starts with raising the threshold for approval in the U.S Senate or states that appoint judges.

"If it took 75 votes to get a Supreme Court justice in the Senate, 75% of the legislature in Wisconsin, what would happen? You'd have more moderates, nobody could ram through a partisan left or right," said Todd.

Chuck Todd is on Meet the Press, Sunday's at 8 a.m. on TMJ4.

It’s about time to watch on your time. Stream local news and weather 24/7 by searching for “TMJ4” on your device.

Available for download on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and more.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip