Ever since losing his bid for a third term in 2018, former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has all but disappeared from the state’s forward-facing political scene. But many people don’t realize he still carries a tremendous amount of weight behind the scenes.
What He’s Doing Now
In February 2021, Walker started his current position as President of the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative group that, according to its website, “trains the next generation of America’s freedom fighters.” He also hosts a weekly five-minute podcast.
His Current Impact on State Politics
As recently as December 2022, many of Walker’s government appointees were still serving in their appointed positions– 20+ months after their terms officially ended. Three Technical College System appointees, for example, only recently submitted their resignation letters. Although their terms expired in May 2021, the three women were allowed to continue serving on the board, which oversees public two-year colleges across the state, because Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled Senate refused to confirm their replacements.
At the start of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ second term, nearly 180 of his appointees were still unconfirmed.
This legislative limbo was made allowable by Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, which has continued to rule in favor of Republicans and Walker. During the 2021-22 session, an unprecedented 54% of cases resulted a 4-3 decision in favor of conservatives. Between 1985 and 2020, a 4-3 decision never happened more than 26% of the time.
This change has a lot to do with Walker. During his eight years as governor, he had an unprecedented impact on the courts, filling:
- Two of the seven seats on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (Justices Daniel Kelly, who’s currently running to regain the seat he lost in 2020 and Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley, who was then elected to a 10-year term that expires in 2026)
- Seven of the 16 seats on the four branches of the Court of Appeals
- At least 65 of the 247 authorized Circuit Court judges statewide
Overall, during his time as governor, Walker appointed one-third of all Wisconsin judges.
What’s Next– For Walker
While he hasn’t given any indication he intends to jump in the 2024 race, Walker isn’t ruling out the possibility of a second presidential bid (he ran a short-lived campaign in 2016). In August 2022, he told a group of students, “I’m 25 years younger than Joe Biden, so I think I’ve got plenty of time to figure that one out.”
What’s Next– For Wisconsin
State voters not only sent Walker packing in 2018, but they also decisively reaffirmed that they want a Democrat in charge when they elected Evers to a second term in 2022. But Evers is unable to move the state in a liberal direction thanks (or no thanks) in part to restrictions implemented or upheld by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Soon you can change that by voting in the February primary and April election to fill the open court seat. Click here to learn more about the election and how it will impact your life for the next decade.
And click here to check your registration status, learn how to vote early, or find your polling place today!