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By Mae Slater on
 April 13, 2024

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley To Retire

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has declared her retirement after nearly three decades on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, marking the end of an era.

Breitbart reported that Justice Bradley, a prominent figure in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, announced on Thursday her decision to retire, concluding a 29-year tenure. She revealed that she will not seek reelection when her current term expires on July 31, 2025.

Bradley's announcement comes a significant time after the election of Janet Protasiewicz, which shifted the court's majority to liberal justices. This change occurred when Protasiewicz won 55.5% of the vote against former Justice Daniel Kelly, who secured 44.5%.

Justice Bradley's Long Service and Historical Context

During her announcement, Justice Bradley reflected on her long service. "In the 177-year history of this state, only four justices will have served longer than my length of service," she stated, underscoring her historical tenure on the court.

Bradley's career has been marked by significant rulings and shifts in the judicial landscape of Wisconsin, including recent decisions on absentee ballot drop boxes. In July 2022, the court ruled 4-3 that absentee ballot drop boxes were illegal, a decision reflecting the court's conservative-liberal dynamic.

Furthermore, in March 2024, the court agreed to revisit the debate over ballot drop boxes, indicating ongoing judicial discussions that Bradley has influenced during her tenure.

Election Scheduled for Bradley’s Successor

An election to fill Justice Bradley's soon-to-be-vacant seat is set for April 2025. This upcoming election is poised to be a significant event, potentially impacting the ideological balance of the court.

Brad Schimel, a Republican and former Wisconsin Attorney General, has already thrown his hat into the ring for the position. Announced in December, Schimel’s candidacy signals the beginning of what may be a fiercely contested race.

Bradley’s retirement not only marks the end of an influential judicial career but also sets the stage for a critical battle for control of Wisconsin’s highest court.

Reflecting on a Distinguished Career

"Today I announce that I will not be running for a fourth ten-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court," said Justice Bradley during her retirement announcement. Her decision, she explained, was not made lightly and involved a desire to introduce fresh perspectives to the bench.

“While I will be concluding my tenure on the court, my dedication to public service remains unwavering,” Bradley affirmed, signaling her continued commitment to public service beyond the judiciary.

She elaborated on her decision, expressing confidence in her capabilities and potential reelection prospects but emphasized the importance of passing the torch. "It's just time to pass the torch, bringing fresh perspectives to the court," Bradley commented, highlighting her thoughtful consideration behind the decision.

Implications of Bradley's Retirement on Judicial Balance

The retirement of Justice Bradley is more than just a personal milestone; it represents a pivotal moment for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Her departure could influence future court decisions, especially with the liberal majority she helped establish through her long service.

The transition period until the April 2025 election will be a critical time for both sides of the ideological spectrum as they prepare to contend for the open seat.

This change comes at a time when the court’s decisions are particularly impactful, considering recent cases such as the ballot drop box debate and other significant rulings.


In conclusion, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley’s retirement marks the end of an impactful 29-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Her tenure saw crucial judicial decisions and a shift towards a liberal majority with the election of Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Bradley’s decision to retire is poised to set off a significant electoral battle for her successor, with former Attorney General Brad Schimel already announcing his candidacy. As Wisconsin prepares for this transition, the legacy of Bradley’s long and distinguished service will undoubtedly influence the court for years to come.

Written By:
Mae Slater

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