Wisconsin Republicans eye impeachment of liberal justice

September 12, 2023
Matthew Boose

Democrats and their mainstream media allies are rallying behind Wisconsin Supreme Court justice Janet Protasiewicz as Republicans threaten to impeach her. 

Protasiewicz's victory shifted the state's Supreme Court to the left, handing Democrats vast new power in a critical battleground state that Joe Biden carried by just 20,000 votes.

Republicans say impeachment may be warranted because Protasiewicz prejudged critical cases and has shown no desire to recuse herself.

Wisconsin Republicans eye impeachment

Protasiewicz broke with tradition by campaigning as an unapologetic Democrat. She championed abortion and blasted the state's electoral maps, which lean Republican, as "rigged."

"They do not reflect people in this state. I don't think you could sell any reasonable person that the maps are fair," Protasiewicz said at the time.

Democrats are determined to get their moneys' worth after splashing $10 million to get her elected - she also received endorsements from powerful Democrats including Barack Obama - in what was the most expensive state judicial race in U.S. history.

Since her appointment, Democrats have wasted no time filing lawsuits to change the state's voting policies and electoral maps - which, again, Protasiewicz called "rigged."

The Democrats are pouring $4 million into a messaging campaign attacking Republicans who support impeachment as a threat to "democracy" - tapping a broader narrative painting Republicans as extreme and undemocratic.

Wisconsin Democratic party chair Ben Wikler called the effort an "unconstitutional abuse of power to nullify a landslide election."

Time to recuse?

Mainstream media have adopted the Democratic party narrative, portraying Republicans as rash and vindictive, with many headlines noting that Protasiewicz hasn't heard a case yet.

Of course, the whole argument for impeaching her is that she cannot be trusted to be an impartial judge in the first place.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) has given Protasiewicz an off-ramp, saying the ball is entirely in her court.

"We have an election that lasts 10 years. That's where people are put into office, and they're only removed in extremely rare circumstances. I think it's only happened once in Wisconsin, if somebody goes way outside the bounds," Vos said.

"And not recusing on cases that you pre-decided means that for the next 10 years, your judgment has to be called into question that you're not independent. I don't think Justice Protasiewicz wants that to be her legacy so I don't think we'll ever have to get to impeachment."

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