Liberals never stop. They are always looking for ways to undo the legitimate actions of conservatives.
Nearly a dozen years ago, we enacted some of the most comprehensive, commonsense and conservative reforms in the nation. The left did not like it.
Radicals occupied the Wisconsin state Capitol for nearly a month. Senate Democrats fled the state to stall a vote. Death threats were made against me and my family.
Eventually, some 100,000 filled and surrounded the building that holds all three branches of state government in Wisconsin. Their goal was simple: intimidation.
Thankfully, it didn’t work. The bill was divided into two parts, and a vote was taken to move forward. I signed into law Act 10. It still stands today. Taxpayers have saved more than $15 billion since then, and local officials are now in charge of their schools, counties and municipalities. Our reforms work.
Along the way, the same radicals tried to undo our work with legal action. Time after time, they were shut down in state and federal courts. Today, the reforms are a normal part of state and local government.
Liberals, however, never stop. They are looking to take control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the spring of 2023. The outcome will determine whether the separation of powers is upheld or if an activist majority will attempt to legislate from the bench.
Far more is at stake than the future of Wisconsin Act 10. Public safety will be on the ballot this coming April. Low or no cash bail, early release of violent criminals, and defunding the police are all ideas pushed by liberals in the past. Look for them to impose ideas like this from the bench if they can regain the majority.
Three people have declared their intentions to run. Two are considered “progressives” — Judge Janet Protasiewicz and Judge Everett Mitchell. They are already talking about undoing actions by Republicans in the state Legislature and siding with those who seek to undermine law enforcement officials. The other candidate is former Justice Dan Kelly.
Full disclosure: I appointed Justice Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He and Justice Rebecca Bradley were two of my appointments to the high court ,and they did an outstanding job. Justice Kelly is brilliant and very much like the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Justice Kelly is the candidate for the rule of law and upholding the Constitution. His opponents are the candidates of judicial activism. As mentioned, liberals never stop. They are always looking for ways to undo the legitimate actions of conservatives.
In 2020, Justice Kelly was part of a 4-to-3 majority that ruled that the executive branch had exceeded its authority under the law to shut down small businesses in Wisconsin during the pandemic. An activist court might have allowed the closures to continue for another year or more into the future.
During that same year, Justice Kelly failed in his bid to be elected to a full term on the state Supreme Court. The loss was largely because Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders stayed in the race until after the April Wisconsin presidential primary election — the same day as the general election for Supreme Court.
Liberal voters turned out in massive numbers with the names of Joe Biden and Mr. Sanders still on the ballot. During the February primary, Justice Kelly received more than 50% of the vote. His vote total in the general election would have been enough to win the race in 2019. It was just the wrong year for a conservative to run.
Thankfully, there are no presidential primary elections in 2023. That puts Justice Kelly in an excellent position, as he has served with distinction on the Supreme Court and has already gone through a statewide election. There will be no surprises with him on the ballot.
Still, liberals do not give up. They will be looking for ways to motivate their voters. Watch for local jurisdictions to put referendum questions on the ballot in liberal areas.
In 2018, many of the counties around college campuses put advisory referendum questions on the ballot about legalizing marijuana. Voter turnout surged in those areas. It knocked out all of the conservatives on the statewide ballot.
Think this election matters only in my state? Think again.
Radical control of the state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania allowed election officials to overlook the directives of the state Legislature during the 2020 elections. Activist judges in North Carolina sought to throw out legitimately passed legislative boundaries.
Liberals never stop. They are hoping to take over the majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in hopes that they can undo our positive reforms and position themselves for victory in the future. As conservatives, we need to be vigilant and support those who want to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.
• Scott Walker is president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019.