(PartiallyPolitics.com) – Democrats are putting a lot of their attention on state supreme court elections in 2024, as the battles over key issues such as map redrawing, abortion, and gerrymandering are set to go before state judges.
Last month the party managed to flip the high court’s conservative majority in Wisconsin for the first time in one and a half decades. The state court is soon expected to hear a case regarding a contested abortion ban. However, the Democrats have also had losses in recent weeks with the GOP-controlled Supreme Court in North Carolina overturning the previous voting maps.
There are now more than 30 states with elections for their state’s top courts as they head into 2020. Michael Bitzer, a professor of politics and history at Catawba College has pointed out that there is a lot of attention being placed on the courts right now as people are understanding that the court often holds “as much public policy power as state legislatures and state executive officers.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on gerrymandering and abortions have also helped elevate the importance of the court elections. In 2019 the high court ruled that partisan gerrymandering claims should be handled by state courts and that they are beyond what the federal court should answer. Last year they also voted to overturn Roe v. Wade which had previously provided abortion protection across the nation for close to five decades.
Next year, there will be 80 seats on state supreme courts up for election, with only some candidates running as party nominees. Still, these campaigns could prove to be not only important but also expensive, with the Wisconsin Supreme Court election last month costing more than $45 million.
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