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Schimel Challenges “Profoundly Arrogant” State Supreme Court

Former Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel – the only announced candidate for Wisconsin’s 2025 State Supreme Court election – addressed the May 2024 meeting of Fox Valley Initiative, held at FreedomProject Academy in Appleton. Nearly four dozen people attended the meeting and peppered Schimel with questions.

Schimel, who declared his candidacy in November 2023, opened his remarks by describing “what we’re up against,” describing two State Supreme Court decisions that he called “the gift that keeps on giving to our campaign.”

  • On May 3, 2024, in AMB v. Circuit Court, the court unanimously upheld a state law that forbids an individual who is not married to a child’s biological parent from adopting the child. Although concurring in that decision, Justice Jill Karofsky took this opportunity to trash the institution of marriage. She railed against the culture’s “outdated set of values positioning marriage as the moral center of family and society” and claimed “[t]he notion that marriage serves as the foundation of society is at best outdated, and at worst misogynistic.”
  • On March 14, 2024, in Catholic Charities Bureau, Inc. v. State of Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission, the court ruled 4–3 that the work of the Catholic Charities Bureau and related entities isn’t “sufficiently religious” to qualify for an exemption from having to pay unemployment tax to cover its employees.

Schimel said these two cases, and others, show how “profoundly arrogant” our current State Supreme Court is. “Integrity and humility are missing from this court,” he said – and he is running to return those virtues to the court.

Schimel fielded several questions, including:

What is your position on abortion? He identified himself as firmly pro-life … but as a state supreme court justice he will not oppose the will of the people, if a popular referendum or “exceptions bill” were to pass. He said the Wisconsin 1849 law is valid – there’s nothing in that law to make it invalid. But what the legislature passes is what the law/policy is, and “that’s not up to the justices to change.”

What “big issues” do you think will be coming before the court? Schimel mentioned protecting Act 10 and Wisconsin’s school choice programs as among the biggest issues on the State Supreme Court’s horizon … and both are unlikely to survive in the court unless retiring Justice Ann Walsh Bradley is replaced by a conservative justice.

How does your campaign differ from Dan Kelly’s? Prefacing his response by expressing his respect for Kelly, Schimel said unlike Kelly he (a) would take all legal and ethical contributions and (b) would not declare he won’t support his primary opponent.

How will you handle working with Justice Janet Protasiewicz? Schimel said “I get along with people, I can focus on the positive.” He said he would “win, be a gracious winner, and be thankful.”

Defend your bona fides as a conservative. “When I make promises on the campaign trail,” Schimel said, “I keep them.” Schimel has been endorsed by nearly two dozen Wisconsin sheriffs, many of whom have praised him for his integrity and commitment to the rule of law.

How confident are you in the integrity of our elections? Schimel said “every day we get closer to the election, the less concerned I am about another Covid. They can do some screwing around in Madison and Milwaukee,” he acknowledged, “but without Covid it won’t be so bad.”

Important Dates

February 18, 2025: if needed, a primary will be held for the Wisconsin State Supreme Court election

April 1, 2025: Wisconsin spring election, including State Supreme Court election

July 31, 2025: the term of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley expires


For more information about Fox Valley Initiative and its regular monthly programs, visit its website at www.foxvalleyinitiative.com.

Diane Bast
Diane Basthttps://appletonwi.org
Diane Bast is a native of Wisconsin and graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. Before retiring from The Heartland Institute in 2018, she served at various times as senior editor, executive editor, finance manager, and website manager. After retirement, she served for one year on the board of directors of Heartland. She served on the board of directors of the Advocates for Self-Government from 2009 to December 2016. She currently serves as webmaster for Appleton Concerned Taxpayers and other nonprofit organizations.
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