State News

What to know ahead of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election

Early voting for the April 2 Supreme Court election began Monday: Here’s everything you need to know about the two candidates. 

Image By: Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons/Daderot

Early voting for the contentious Wisconsin Supreme Court race between Waukesha Court of Appeals Judges Brian Hagedorn and Judge Lisa Neubauer commenced Monday. 

Although the Wisconsin Supreme Court race elects a non-partisan position, the two candidates have seen endorsements from different sides of the aisle. 

The election began after Justice Shirley Abrahamson, the longest serving Supreme Court Judge in Wisconsin and first woman on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, announced in May of 2018 that she would not be seeking re-election. 

JUDGE BRIAN HAGEDORN

Hagedorn served as Chief Legal Counsel for former Gov. Scott Walker for five years before his judicial career. He was appointed in 2015 by Walker and won election in 2017. 

Hagedorn has earned the endorsement from 44 current and former Wisconsin sheriffs, two pro-life organizations and the Milwaukee Police Association. 

“The MPA appreciates Judge Hagedorn’s steadfast commitment to protecting the public and enforcing the rule of law, and we are confident he will be a strong ally of law enforcement on the Supreme Court,” said Shawn C. Lauda, the president of the MPA. 

However, Hagedorn has received criticism over the resurfacing of written blog posts, started in 2005, where he publicized controversial opinions on the LGBTQ+ community and NAACP, stating that homosexuality has legal equivalence to bestiality. 

Hagedorn has been married for 17 years and is a father to five children. According to his campaign page, he enjoys serving his church, cheering on the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers and spending time with his family.

JUDGE LISA NEUBAUER

Neubauer has worked in law for 30 years and spent 10 of those years as an appellate judge. She was first elected in 2008 and was appointed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in 2015, where she has served since. 

Neubauer has received support including former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, whose National Redistricting Action Fund has raised $350,000 with Together Wisconsin Acts and the Black Leaders Organizing Communities to support her campaign. 

She also has seen endorsements from 331 current and former Wisconsin judges and 80 Republican and Democratic elected sheriffs and districts attorneys, according to her press release. 

Earlier this month, Neubauer released her campaign’s first television advertisement titled “Highest Court.” This advertisement features Neubauer’s plan of using her experience to keep communities safe and mentions her support from judicial and law enforcement communities in Wisconsin. 

“Chief Justice Lisa Neubauer has the overwhelming support of the Wisconsin Judiciary and law enforcement community because she is fair, impartial and independent,” said Tyler Hendricks, Neubauer’s campaign manager. “Wisconsinites are sick of partisan, politicized judges with an agenda, and that’s why on April 2, we will vote for the candidate with more experience, the right temperament and the record of independence that our state demands.”

However, Neubauer has seen criticism for being partisan herself. 

"Lisa Neubauer joining left-wing protests tells voters everything they need to know about her desire to politicize the Supreme Court," said Stephan Thompson, Hagedorn's campaign adviser, regarding Neubauer’s attendance at Wisconsin’s Climate Change Rally in April 2017.

Judge Neubauer lives in Racine with her husband and three children. She has been a reading tutor in the Racine public elementary schools, a Big Sister though the Big Sisters of Greater Racine and a mentor for breast cancer survivors for After Breast Cancer Diagnosis. 

The Dane County ballot will also include the mayor, school board and city council races. UW-Madison students can register to vote online at myvote.wi.gov up to 20 days before the election.  

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