Republicans threaten to impeach new Wisconsin Supreme Court justice

 August 16, 2023

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz made headlines this year after her election victory gave the state's highest judicial body a liberal majority.

However, one Republican lawmaker warned late last week that Protasiewicz could find herself facing impeachment.  

Controversy over electoral map

According to the Washington Examiner, that warning came from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos issued the warning during an interview this past Friday with WSAU Radio.

Specifically, Vos took issue with remarks Protasiewicz made during her campaign concerning the nature of Wisconsin's electoral maps.

The then-state Supreme Court candidate slammed the maps as being "rigged" and designed to disadvantage people in urban areas.

"They do not reflect people in this state. I don't think you could sell any reasonable person that the maps are fair," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted Protasiewicz as saying in January.

"I can't tell you what I would do on a particular case, but I can tell you my values, and the maps are wrong," she added.

Assembly speaker calls for Protasiewicz to recuse herself

In response, the Assembly speaker argued that Protasiewicz has a duty to recuse herself from any case involving state electoral maps.

"If there is any semblance of honor on the state Supreme Court left, you cannot have a person who runs for the court prejudging a case and being open about it, and then acting on the case as if you're an impartial observer," he said.

"The idea that we're going to immediately start an impeachment process is probably too radical," Vos went on to acknowledge.

"I want to look and see, does she recuse herself on cases where she is prejudged? That, to me, is something that is at the oath of office and what she said she was going to do to uphold the Constitution. That, to me, is a serious offense," he continued.

Impeachment rhetoric called  a threat to democracy

The Examiner noted that this is not the first time impeachment has been discussed in reference to Protasiewicz, as some Republican lawmakers raised the prospect shortly after she was elected.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard came to Protasiewicz defense and accused Vos of threatening democracy.

"These comments that are being made by Speaker Vos, frankly, are threats to the will of the people and to democracy in Wisconsin," the Examiner quoted her as saying.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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