NBC'S Chuck Todd on Wisconsin Supreme Court race and GOP loyalty pledge

TMJ4'S Chief Political Reporter Charles Benson talked with NBC's moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd about this week's big political stories
Posted at 8:20 AM, Feb 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-27 12:56:24-05

Will Republican presidential candidates say "I do" to a loyalty pledge?

The first GOP presidential debate will be in Milwaukee this August but only for candidates who sign a loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee in 2024.

How worried are Republicans about a third-party candidate named Donald Trump if he doesn't get the nomination?

"Well, it's obviously something they continue to be concerned about, but I don't know if he'll sign the pledge, said Todd. He didn't before and I don't know if others will, if he doesn't, others won't.'

Todd questions whether a loyalty pledge is even enforceable.

"I understand why they're doing it. They wouldn't be doing their job as a political party if they didn't try to do that. But my first question would be okay, you sign the pledge. What does it mean? What happens if you break the pledge? What are they going to do to you?'

Former President Trump and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley are the only two candidates who have declared for 2024.

But Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and former Vice President Mike Pence are all thinking about it.

Hogan has already said he doesn't support President Trump.

"It's Donald Trump himself that has been the person that's threatened to walk away from the party more than anybody, Todd said. So, I do think this is as much about getting Trump to sign on the dotted line as it is about everybody else."

On Tuesday, Wisconsin voters picked Judge Janet Protasiewicz the liberal candidate, and former Justice Daniel Kelly, a conservative, to face off in the April election to determine which way the state Supreme Court will lean.

Todd has done stories on Wisconsin being 'patient zero' for polarization. Does he think this race will take it to a new level?

"I absolutely do, especially because abortion is on the ballot." said Todd. That issue alone is going to invite millions of outside money."

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs Wade has made abortion a big political issue again and it changed people's perception of the court.

A Marquette Law School national survey in January showed the public sees the U.S. Supreme Court as less moderate compared to four years ago.

That same survey found, 47% of adults approved of the job the US Supreme Court is doing - 53% disapproved. However, that's an improvement from 60% who disapproved right after the abortion decision in June of 2022.

Wisconsin is among 22 states that elect judges to the Supreme Court. There are seven justices, each term runs 10 years.

"When you see how politicized this has gotten in Wisconsin, it is hard to sit here and say to yourself, once they win that election, this is you know, nothing but black robes and the rule of law, said Todd. I mean, more than any other Supreme Court in the country, I feel like those justices in Wisconsin's robes are all red and blue. There are no black robes."

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip