It’s official: Waukesha parade judge to announce run for Wisconsin Supreme Court

Entry of high-profile judge shakes up campaigns looking to tip ideological balance of the court

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow warns Darrell Brooks not to interrupt
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow warns Darrell Brooks not to interrupt as he appears in a Waukesha County Circuit Court during the second day of jury selection in Waukesha, Wis. on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via AP

Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow, who presided over the trial of the Waukesha parade attacker, plans to announce her run for Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Dorow, a conservative, will make an official announcement Wednesday, the judge’s husband Brian Dorow confirmed Tuesday afternoon to Wisconsin Public Radio.

The top court’s ideological balance will be up for grabs during the election this spring. The Wisconsin Supreme Court currently has a 4-3 conservative majority, but conservative Justice Patience Roggensack will be leaving a seat open when she retires at the end of her term.

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Republican Gov. Scott Walker first appointed Dorow to Waukesha Circuit Court in late 2011, and she was later elected to the position in 2012.

She gained widespread attention this fall, when she sentenced Darrell Brooks Jr. to multiple life sentences in prison. Brooks killed six people and injured dozens of others when he intentionally drove an SUV into a 2021 Waukesha Christmas parade.

Although Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race is officially nonpartisan, candidates are typically backed by political parties.

So far, two liberals, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz and Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell, have announced their candidacies. Former conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly is also running.

A Feb. 21 primary will narrow the number of contenders before a general election April 4. Candidates have until Jan. 3 to file to run.