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Wisconsin has the highest proportion of women state Supreme Court justices among all states, with six of seven justices — 86% — identifying as female, according to research by The Badger Project. After Wisconsin, Washington and Illinois have the highest proportions. Looking at the aggregate of all state Supreme Court justices, 41% are women.
The number of female justices within the Wisconsin Supreme Court grew from five to six with the election of Jill Karofsky to the high court in 2020. Until 1993, the court had just one female justice, Shirley Abrahamson, who was appointed to the court in 1976.
The six female justices are ideologically split, with Justice Brian Hagedorn — the only male — often being the swing vote.
With liberal Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz’s victory in the 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court election, the court now has a 4-3 liberal majority, while maintaining its proportion of women justices.
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The Badger Project Wisconsin Supreme Court has highest percentage of female justices on a top state court in the country
State Bar of Wisconsin Inside track: Wisconsin Supreme Court sets precedent for increase in women judges:
USA Today Wisconsin Supreme Court election: What liberal win means for abortion, legislative maps and 2024
Wisconsin Courts Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson