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JASON SNEAD: The Stakes Are Massive In One Battleground State’s Supreme Court Race. Here’s Why


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Jason Snead Executive Director, Honest Elections Project Action
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Big money from left-wing donors is fueling a campaign to turn state supreme courts into supreme legislatures. Up next on their list of targets is the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

Just days from now, voters will pick a new justice who will be the decisive vote on the seven-member court. It’s the biggest election of the year, and it will carry national ramifications. (RELATED: SNEAD: The Left Has Launched A Surprise Attack Targeting Voting Rules In One Battleground State)

After all, Wisconsin will be center-stage in next year’s presidential election. If past is prologue, left-wing anti-democracy lawyers like Marc Elias will be working overtime, filing lawsuits that invite courts to rewrite the laws of our democracy for partisan gain.

They will be especially vigorous in important battlegrounds, looking for ways to tweak the rules that build in advantages for the Left and make it easier to sue over the results.

The current Wisconsin Supreme Court has shown little interest in playing Elias’s game. But add one more activist to the bench, and practically every election integrity law in the state is in jeopardy.

Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz is signaling that if elected, she would be that activist vote. On the campaign trail she has eagerly telegraphed her views on issues from collective bargaining to the right to life. She has even called the state’s legislative maps “rigged.”

Protasiewicz’s naked embrace of judicial partisanship is welcome news for left-wing lawyers like Elias and Eric Holder, who would like nothing more than to exploit a liberal Supreme Court to gerrymander the state for Democrats and strike down voter ID.

Eliminating absentee ballot safeguards and restoring odious practices like vote trafficking — which the Supreme Court struck down as illegal after the Wisconsin Election Commission tried to authorize it by bureaucratic fiat — will also be high on the list.

Elias is equipped to challenge practically any voting law he wants in order to sway elections for his partisan clients. He has practically limitless funding from the Left’s biggest dark-money billionaires and the Arabella Advisors network. In 2020 alone, Elias’s team filed more than 60 lawsuits to undermine election integrity laws nationwide, while other liberal groups brought hundreds more.

Elias and other progressive groups challenge almost every election integrity law that states enact. In Wisconsin alone, Elias instigated a slew of lawsuits to end voter ID and compel the state to count illegal ballots.

Clearly, he will stop at nothing to neuter election safeguards in the state and stack the deck for Democrats. If that means coaxing courts to seize the power write election laws from elected lawmakers, so be it.

If Wisconsin needs to know what its future might hold, look no further than North Carolina. At Elias’s behest, Democratic justices on the North Carolina Supreme Court seized the power to redraw district maps and gerrymandered them to benefit their fellow Democrats.

The Democratic majority next invented a way to overturn constitutional amendments passed by voters and then rushed a lawsuit so they could overturn voter ID requirements before North Carolinians voted them out of office. Or look at Pennsylvania, where the highly partisan Supreme Court has repeatedly sided with left-wing litigators, changing voting rules on the fly with little concern for the text of the law.

There are all sorts of reasons this sort of judicial activism shouldn’t fly. Judges play a crucial role in government, but they are only empowered to uphold and interpret the law, not to legislate from the bench.

Anytime an activist judge substitutes his or her own politics and views for the law, the institutions of our constitutional republic are harmed.

In the election law context, those concerns are especially acute. When courts rewrite the rules in the middle of elections, they sow chaos and confusion for voters and officials alike.

And when those changes — like the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to accept and count illegal or late ballots — also change who wins and loses an election, the stage is set for the losers to disclaim the results as rigged.

That would be the nightmare scenario: a 2024 presidential election decided in Wisconsin, under an election code gutted and rewritten by an activist court at the behest of partisan lawyers who openly tout their goal to win elections in the courts. No matter how that plays out, the damage to voter confidence in the democratic process could be extreme.

In the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, the stakes are as high as the spending. The nation will be watching for what it portends.

Jason Snead is the Executive Director of Honest Elections Project Action.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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