Vote Karofsky

This letter is paid content. On Tuesday, April 7, Wisconsin voters will elect a Supreme Court Justice. Jill Karofsky, an experienced Dane County Circuit Court Judge, is running for that office. The incumbent, Daniel Kelly, who had no experience as a judge when he was appointed by former Governor Scott Walker, must now face election for the first time. The outcome of this race will determine not only the character and integrity of our state’s highest court, but also its reputation for independence and impartiality. That reputation has been in decline over the past decade as a result of the increased influence of special interest money in judicial elections. Large sums from corporate and wealthy donors were pumped into the campaigns of conservative candidates with little or no judicial experience.

Kelly was an active Walker supporter prior to his appointment. A member of the very conservative Federalist Society, he was part of the legal team that defended the political gerrymandering that unfairly skewed our election process in Wisconsin in favor of the Republicans.

Kelly applied for the Supreme Court appointment in secret.

Kelly has written that affirmative action and slavery are the same morally and as a matter of law. When he was pressed by reporters to discuss what he meant, he had Walker respond with evasive answers instead of answering himself.

Although Kelly promised that his political beliefs would not affect his decision making when he was appointed, he has done just the opposite. He has consistently sided with extreme conservative interests rather than the general public, a pattern which his opponent says looks like corruption to the public.

Karofsky has pointed out that “Every single time that Justice Kelly has the opportunity to rule in favor of the right-wing special interests of the Republicans, he does it every single time.” She referenced the court’s decision on the lame-duck session, which stripped power from Governor Tony Evers. In another case, Kelly participated in removing authority from the State Superintendent of School to do his job.

Kelly further opposed a request by a large group of retired judges that the Supreme Court adopt reasonable recusal rules to prevent judges from ruling on cases in which a party, or attorney, contributed substantial sums to the sitting judge’s campaign. He even refused to hold a public hearing on this important issue.

In the interest of maintaining the high ethical standards for impartiality and independence the public should expect from the Supreme Court, voters should choose Jill Karofsky in this election. She has been endorsed by a very large number of other judges and public officials for being a dedicated advocate for the rights of all Wisconsin citizens.

Based on all of her qualifications, Jill Karofsky is by far the better choice. She will be a welcome and needed addition to the Supreme Court.


  Mike Lucci                     Dennis Cochrane

  Superior                        Superior