Liberal judge launches bid in closely watched race for Wisconsin Supreme Court

A circuit court judge who represented a local affiliate of Planned Parenthood announced on Monday that she’s launching a bid for a vacant seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is up for grabs next year.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Susan Crawford is vying for outgoing liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley’s seat on the state’s high court. Bradley announced in April that she wouldn’t seek reelection in 2025, which will leave the Wisconsin Supreme Court at an even 6-6 partisan split.

“I am running for Supreme Court justice to protect the basic rights and freedoms of Wisconsinites under our constitution. Those rights are threatened by an all-out effort to politicize the court to drive a right-wing agenda — I believe Wisconsin deserves better,” Crawford said in a press release shared by the news outlet

“As a former prosecutor and a judge, I know we need Supreme Court justices who understand what it takes to keep communities safe, who are impartial and fair, who will use common sense, and who won’t politicize the constitution to undermine our most basic rights,” she continued. “For the first time in years, we have a majority on the court focused on getting the facts right, following the law, and protecting our constitutional rights. We can’t risk having that progress reversed.”

Crawford’s resume includes serving as assistant attorney general at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, serving as a chief legal counsel to the Wisconsin governor and working at several state agencies. Crawford’s website also notes that she represented Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin when she was in private practice.

Though Wisconsin Supreme Court races are technically nonpartisan, the judicial races have turned increasingly political. Liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz won a vacant seat on the state’s high court last year, notably calling the state’s election maps “rigged” and expressing her support for abortion access.

That 2023 race marked the first time in 15 years that the Wisconsin Supreme Court held a liberal majority, and it saw tens of millions of dollars in spending.

Former state Attorney General Brad Schimel (R), now a circuit judge in Waukesha County, is also running for Bradley’s seat in 2025.

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