In the election for Supreme Court justice, how you vote hinges on one thing: What your definition of “judicial activist” is.

Randy Koschnick, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge, certainly thinks his challenger for the bench, Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson, fits that definition. For Koschnick, expanding court rulings into mandates for future legal procedure is activism. Ruling on a case on politically centered ideologies is activism. Reading too much into the Constitution (meaning anything not explicitly stated) is judicial activism.

And he may be right. But we’ve seen no evidence Abrahamson has done any of those things. And given Koschnick’s backing from groups like the Christian-based Promise Keepers and Wisconsin Family Council, we’re not sure we believe his assertion that personal views on religion will not seep into future Supreme Court decisions.

This is especially concerning in light of a recent Supreme Court decision in neighboring Iowa declaring that state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional. If there’s one place where “judicial activism” is most prevalent, it’s in the constitutionality of a gay marriage ban. Since Koschnick seems ready to defer to the Legislature on most issues not explicitly outlined in the Constitution, we do not trust him to adequately mete out justice when it comes to the most prescient civil rights cause of our time.

So, given Abrahamson’s time already on the bench and support from many respected law enforcement and legal professionals, we endorse Shirley Abrahamson.

Our decision to endorse is a pragmatic necessity. Reasoned, rational justices are needed on the state Supreme Court. But our idealistic sensibilities understand proper jurisprudence is not something voters are prepared to decide upon. Therefore, we reaffirm our desire to see the state switch to an appointed system of justices rather than the misdirected free-for-all we’ve seen recently.