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Meet The 2020 Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates

Courtesy of Jill Karofsky and Daniel Kelly
(From left) The 2020 Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates advancing to the Wisconsin general election on April 7, which is the same day as the presidential primary, are Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky and incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly.

Updated April 2 at 12:59 p.m. CT

On April 7, Wisconsin voters will decide which candidate will earn a 10-year term on the state Supreme Court. Incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly faces a challenge from Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky.

Although the office is non-partisan, the court currently has a 5-2 conservative majority. Kelly is supported by conservatives. Liberals have endorsed Karofsky.

>>Wisconsin Election Results
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The April 7 general election is the same day as Wisconsin’s presidential primary. Before you head to the polls, here's a look at the candidates — in alphabetical order — in the 2020 Wisconsin Supreme Court race.

Jill Karofsky

Jill Karofsky is a Dane County Circuit Court judge. She has also been a state prosecutor and the executive director of the Wisconsin Office of Crime Victim Services.

Credit Courtesy of Jill Karofsky
Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky believes her experience as a trial court judge is a top reason people should vote for her.

"My judicial philosophy is that every single person in my courtroom should be treated with dignity and respect and fairness, that the rule of law has to be followed in every case, whether or not I personally agree with that,” she explains.

READ: Karofsky Wants To End 'Corruption' If Elected To Wisconsin Supreme Court

She emphasizes that she's the only person in this race who’s in a trial court.

"I am seeing every day how these cases impact real people’s lives. They are not an esoteric exercise ... I have seen the front line, seen how the law impacts real people and I have a long record of following the rule of law," she says.

READ: Karofsky Says She's 'Seen How The Law Impacts Real People'

Karofsky went to law school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Learn more about her here.

Daniel Kelly

Incumbent Daniel Kelly was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2016 by former republican Gov. Scott Walker. Before that, he spent about 20 years representing clients on a variety of legal issues.

“I think it’s critical that we have jurists on the Supreme Court who are committed to applying the law as it exists, not the law as we might wish it to be, but as it’s actually created and maintained by the people of Wisconsin and their legislators,” Kelly says.

Credit Courtesy of Daniel Kelly
Incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2016. He believes people should vote for him because of the way he understands the rule of the court.

READ:Kelly Touts Ability To 'Apply The Law' In Wisconsin Supreme Court Bid

One issue that he's been talking about with voters is the proper relationship between Wisconsinites and the government.

"My understanding is that the authority to create and maintain governments belongs to us. They don’t give it away, they don’t sell it, they don’t alienate it in any way and yet, I exercise some of their authority on their behalf. That’s because they’ve loaned it to me," Kelly says.

READ: Kelly Says His Campaign Is About Constitutional Faithfulness

He went to Regent University School of Law.

Learn more about Kelly here.

What do you want to know about the 2020 elections and the DNC convention? Submit your questions below.


Lauren Sigfusson
Lauren became WUWM's digital producer in July 2018.
Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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