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Fischer launches campaign for Kentucky Supreme Court seat

December 2, 2021 GMT
FILE - Republican Rep. Joseph Fischer, of Fort Thomas, right, talks with Rep. Adam Koenig during the legislative session in Frankfort, Ky., on Jan. 4, 2007.  Fischer, a mainstay in legislative efforts to restrict abortion, on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, entered next year's campaign for a seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court.  (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)
FILE - Republican Rep. Joseph Fischer, of Fort Thomas, right, talks with Rep. Adam Koenig during the legislative session in Frankfort, Ky., on Jan. 4, 2007. Fischer, a mainstay in legislative efforts to restrict abortion, on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, entered next year's campaign for a seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)
FILE - Republican Rep. Joseph Fischer, of Fort Thomas, right, talks with Rep. Adam Koenig during the legislative session in Frankfort, Ky., on Jan. 4, 2007. Fischer, a mainstay in legislative efforts to restrict abortion, on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, entered next year's campaign for a seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican state Rep. Joseph Fischer, a mainstay in legislative efforts to restrict abortion, launched his campaign Wednesday for a seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Fischer, an attorney who has served in the state House for more than two decades, will challenge incumbent Justice Michelle Keller in next year’s nonpartisan race in a northern Kentucky district. Keller has already filed to seek another term on the state’s highest court.

The 2022 elections loom as a pivotal year for the future of the court, with several seats up for grabs.

“My career as an attorney and experience as a member of the House Judiciary Committee for so many years has provided me with a unique perspective regarding the needs of Kentucky’s courts,” Fischer said in a news release announcing his candidacy.

The social conservative lawmaker’s campaign was launched on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments that could decide the fate of the court’s historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion throughout the U.S. In 2019, Fischer sponsored a “trigger law” that would make abortion illegal in most all cases in Kentucky if the Roe v. Wade decision is overturned.

During his long legislative career, Fischer co-sponsored a series of other bills to put restrictions and conditions on abortion in the Bluegrass State. This year, he was lead sponsor of a measure that would add language to the state constitution to ensure it doesn’t offer protections for abortion rights. The proposal cleared the GOP-led legislature and will be on next year’s statewide ballot.

Fischer was a key supporter of a measure that abortion-rights supporters say would effectively ban a standard abortion method in the second trimester of pregnancy. The measure was struck down, but state Attorney General Daniel Cameron has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to be allowed to intervene in the case in hopes of giving the measure another chance before a federal appeals court.

Keller was appointed to Kentucky’s Supreme Court in 2013 by then-Gov. Steve Beshear. She was elected to a full eight-year term on the court in 2014.

Supreme Court races could garner considerable attention in Kentucky next year, when four of the seven seats will be up for election.