Wisconsin Supreme Court: Judge Dorow considers run, what it means

Judge Jennifer Dorow gained national attention for overseeing the Darrell Brooks trial. Now, she's considering a run for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

That justices decide cases that impact Wisconsinite's daily lives, and will likely rule on whether the 1849 abortion ban is enforceable.

"This spring’s supreme court race is shaping up to be highly consequential in the state of Wisconsin," said Ed Fallone, Marquette University Law School professor.

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"We’ve seen lawsuits filed, like I said, just about every single, significant public policy issue that the state has tackled over the last decade-plus," said Mark Graul with Arena Strategy Group. "I think we can expect that to continue in the future."

In the past, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled in favor of then-Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 and blocked absentee ballot drop boxes. The justices also ruled against former President Donald Trump's challenge of the 2020 election results.

Judge Jennifer Dorow

"The court is the arbiter between a very highly politicized, polarized state, and it’s important," Fallone said.

The justices ruled against the Evers' administration's "Safer at Home" order and mask mandates during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also picked Republican-drawn legislative district maps.

"There’s this underlying dispute between the legislature, controlled by Republicans, and the executive, controlled by Democrats, and the court stands in the middle," said Fallone. "These are very significant issues for the future citizens and residents of our state."

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Conservatives currently have a 4-3 majority. One of those conservatives, Justice Brian Hagedorn, has sided with progressives on some important cases. 

Justice Patience Roggensack, a conservative, is retiring. Republican strategists tell FOX6 News that Dorow, also a conservative, is talking about jumping into the race.

"I think she’s exploring the possibility – talking to people who know things about running campaigns, because obviously there’s a campaign associated with this, and to people who care about judicial races and the law and things of that nature, and most importantly obviously, talking to her friends and family," said Graul.

Wisconsin Supreme Court 2022; (L-R) Brian Hagedorn, Rebecca Bradley, Ann Bradley, Annette Ziegler, Patience Roggensack, Rebecca Dallet, Jill Karofsky

The clock is ticking: Candidates can start getting nomination signatures Dec. 1, and they are due right after the holidays on Jan. 4.

Dorow would have competition if she chooses to run. Two progressives are running: Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell and Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz. Former Justice Daniel Kelly, a conservative, is also in the race; he lost his seat in 2020 to Justice Jill Karofsky.

The spring primary is set for Feb. 21, with the top two candidates moving on to the general election in April. The winner of that election gets a 10-year term on bench.