Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly just surprised everyone by announcing he would not hear an important case before the court.
The conservative-leaning justice’s announcement of his intention to recuse himself from a high-profile voting rights case changes the make-up of the court: the conservative majority now shifts from 5–2 to 4–2.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, Kelly did not say why he was stepping away, but “the court is being asked to take the case just weeks before he will be on the ballot for a 10-year term on the court.”
If Kelly stayed on the case, he could be ruling on the eligibility of voters who could vote for him in the upcoming election.
But Kelly’s election isn’t the only one the case effects. President Donald Trump barely won Wisconsin in 2016. Both parties are making the state an important target ahead of 2020, so voter rolls are a massive issue with national implications.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court must still deliberate on whether to even hear the voter eligibility case, but Kelly has recused himself from even that phase of the court’s proceeding. Only time will tell what impact his recusal has on the high court’s decision.