This was political kabuki theater at its transparent worst.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court balance could tip leftward in a general election in April. On his new Saturday Show on MSNBC, Jonathan Capehart invited on the liberal candidate Janet Protasiewicz. The clear intent was to signal to voters and donors how she would vote on key issues before the court, notably abortion.

Capehart dutifully played his role in the farce by saying:

“I know you’d never tell us how you’d rule on any particular case, but . . . “

Of course, the “but” was what her appearance was all about.

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And Protasiewicz then performed her scripted part, saying:

“I appreciate the way you structured that question [bet she did!]. I’ve been very, very careful to share with people what my values are. But to also indicate that my values do not have control over how I would rule or vote in any case. .  . . . Obviously, I’m not foreshadowing a way in which I would be voting”

Ri-i-i-ight. Not foreshadowing at all—obviously! Absolutely no way to guess how she’d vote! And just what are those “values” when it comes to abortion?

“When I talk about my values one of my values is that a woman should have a right to choose in regard to her reproductive health care decisions . . . The bottom line is that decision should be yours.”

Capehart might as well have had a flashing screen graphic: “Vote/Donate To Protasiewicz! She’ll strike down Wisconsin law restricting abortion!!!” Even The New York Times has reported “Judge Protasiewicz has pioneered what may be a new style of judicial campaigning. She has openly proclaimed her views on abortion rights (she’s for them) and the state’s legislative maps (she’s against them).”

Protasiewicz also condemned the “extremism” of the current court, which has a conservative majority. She wants to get back to “normal.” Because, you know, there’s nothing more “normal,” and non-extreme, than supporting abortion up to the moment of birth with no restrictions!

Note: Wisconsin’s Democrat Attorney General has brought a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state law prohibiting abortion except when the mother’s life is threatened. Reading between the lines of this article, it sounds like he is slow-walking the case so that it won’t come before the Supreme Court until after the April election, hoping that Protasiewicz will be there to cast the deciding vote. Note: Mark Finkelstein has a B.S. from Cornell University, an Ed.M. and a J.D. magna cum laude from SUNY Buffalo, and an LL.M. from Harvard. He lives in Ithaca, NY where he hosts “Right Angle,” a local political talk show. Finkelstein is a Contributing Editor at MRC’s NewsBusters blog, where this article originally appeared.

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