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WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT

Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell running for Wisconsin Supreme Court

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Everett Mitchell

Mitchell

Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell announced Wednesday his plans to run next April for the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat currently held by a departing conservative justice.

Mitchell joins Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz in the upcoming election to fill the seat currently held by conservative Justice Patience Roggensack, who is not seeking another 10-year term on the state’s seven-member high court. With conservatives holding a narrow 4-3 majority, the April election could shift the court’s power dynamic.

Mitchell, who is Black, said in a statement he is running because “preserving the integrity and independence of the court has never been more important.” A former prosecutor, Mitchell serves as the presiding judge of Dane County’s juvenile division and oversees cases involving child welfare, juvenile delinquency, family and civil law and criminal proceedings.

“Our state Justices have a tremendous responsibility, and the decisions handed down by the court directly impact the lives of the people in our state,” he said. “Wisconsinites deserve a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice that reflects the growing diversity of ideas and communities within our state.”

He added that the court needs to be “an instrument of balance and justice rather than partisan divide.”

Mitchell also presides over Dane County’s High Risk Drug Court program, which provides support to adults with drug addictions and criminal cases through connections to treatment and mental health services.

Mitchell said he plans to bring his life experiences and a focus on ethics to the state’s high court. He was the first in his family to attend college and experienced homelessness as a single father.

Mitchell graduated from Morehouse College in 2000, earned a master’s degree in divinity in 2003 and a master’s degree in theology in 2004 from Princeton Theological Seminary, and received a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2010.

Protasiewicz has served as a circuit court judge since 2014 and currently presides in the family court. She previously worked 26 years as an assistant Milwaukee County district attorney.

Protasiewicz announced this week she had received endorsements from more than 170 Wisconsin leaders, including current Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet, Municipal Court Judge Derek Mosley and Ed Fallone, associate professor of law at Marquette Law School, who placed third in the 2020 Supreme Court primary with 13% of the vote.

Former conservative state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly is also considering a run next year. Kelly was appointed to the court by former Gov. Scott Walker in 2016. He faced his first election bid in April 2020, losing to former Dane County judge and current state Supreme Court Justice Jill Karofsky.

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