Abortion debate creates ‘new era’ for state supreme court races in 2024

Abortion debate creates ‘new era’ for state supreme court races in 2024

The 2024 elections will be dominated by the presidential contest and the battle for control of Congress, but another series of races is shaping up to be just as consequential.

Crucial battles over abortion, gerrymandering, voting rights and other issues will take center stage in next year’s elections for state supreme court seats — 80 of them in 33 states.

The races have emerged as some of the most hotly contested and costliest contests on the ballot since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion. The decision shifted the abortion debate to states, creating a “new era” in state supreme court elections, said Douglas Keith, senior counsel in the judiciary program at the Brennan Center for Justice, which tracks spending in judicial races.

“We have seen attention on state supreme court elections like never before and money in these races like never before,” Keith said.

Heated court races in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2023 handed victories to Democrats and saw tens of millions of dollars in TV ads, offering a preview of 2024. They’re also prompting groups to consider investing in states they would not previously have considered.

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