Reading Time: < 1 minute

Wisconsin Watch, a nonprofit newsroom, is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Sign up for our newsletter for more stories straight to your inbox.


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. 

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


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

Popular stories from Wisconsin Watch

Avatar photo

Jacob Alabab-Moser / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.