Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell announced earlier today that he is running for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Mitchell will be running for the seat currently held by conservative Justice Patience Roggensack, who will not be running for reelection. With Roggensack’s retirement, the election will decide if the court remains conservative, or if it will flip liberal. Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices hold 10 year terms
Mitchell will be running against Janet Protasiewics, who has sat on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court since 2016. Both Mitchell and Protasiewicz are considered liberal judges. Mitchell says that he is running for the seat to help uphold the integrity, and independence, of the court.
“I believe that justices really have a tremendous responsibility related to the decisions they give that really impact everyday Wisconsinites. I know Wisconsinites deserve a justice who represents the growing diversity and ideas in our communities and in our state,” Mitchell says.
Mitchell, a former prosecutor, was elected to the Dane County Circuit Court in 2016, where he oversees cases involving child welfare, civil law, and criminal proceedings.
Mitchell also serves as a pastor at the Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church here in Madison. As pastor of the church, he was the first Black pastor in Wisconsin to marry a gay couple inside of the church in 2015.
He says that that experience as a pastor has influenced how he runs a courtroom.
“I will say that being a pastor has taught me to be a better listener. As a judge, one of the greatest gifts we can give to people is learning to listen, and to make sure that we withhold our judgment on situations because we are choosing to listen. We need to make sure that we are giving the full weight of what we hear to the people in front of us,” Mitchell says.
Mitchell also says that he sees himself as someone who can heal ideological wounds between people.
“You see the court being splintered in many different ways, ideologically, politically, but what I try to do in my community is to try and find ways that we pull people together rather than being comfortable being stuck in ideological silos. In my view that’s never helpful, and you are never able to promote justice when you are stuck in silos,” Mitchell says.
The election for state Supreme Court will take place in April 2023, not later this November.
In other election news, today was the filing day for candidates running in this year’s August primary and November general election.
Candidates needed to have filed their paperwork with the Wisconsin Elections Commission today by 5PM. Stay tuned to WORT News this summer for interviews with the candidates.
Photo courtesy: State of Wisconsin Courts