Wisconsin Republicans Vow To Let Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh Impeach Liberal Justice if They Lose Partisan Gerrymander

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Author: Liz Dye
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Above the Law

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has decided that he won’t be impeaching state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz after all. He’s going to let the US Supreme Court do it instead!

Justice Protasiewicz was elected in April, trouncing conservative former Justice Dan Kelly by eleven points. The race, which flipped control of the state’s high court to liberal justices, attracted upwards of $56 million in spending, making it far and away the most expensive state judicial election in history.

During the campaign, Protasiewicz called the state’s electoral maps “rigged” — which seems a pretty fair descriptor of a system which gives Republicans two-thirds of the legislative seats off of about half the votes. And upon her investiture, Democrats promptly filed legal challenges to Wisconsin’s maps, which the high court upheld last year. With Protasiewicz on the bench, the court agreed to rehear the cases, prompting a vitriolic response from her conservative colleagues: 

“The probability of actual bias on Protasiewicz’s part likely approaches 100 percent,” Justice Rebecca Bradley fulminated in dissent.

Republican legislators demanded that Protasiewicz recuse herself from the redistricting cases in light of her campaign statements, but the justice demurred.

“Recusal decisions are controlled by the law,” she wrote last Friday. “They are not a matter of personal preference. If precedent requires it, I must recuse. But if precedent does not warrant recusal, my oath binds me to participate.”

Speaker Vos set out to gin up support for an impeachment, enlisting multiple state Supreme Court justices, including Protasiewicz’s predecessor Patience Roggensack. But Vos got a big thumbs-down from at least two of his would-be backers.

“To sum up my views, there should be no effort to impeach Justice Protasiewicz on anything we know now,” former justice David Prosser told Vos in a letter released in response to an open records request from the liberal watchdog group American Oversight. “Impeachment is so serious, severe, and rare that it should not be considered unless the subject has committed a crime, or the subject has committed indisputable ‘corrupt conduct’ while ‘in office.'”

“I do not favor impeachment,” his former colleague Jon Wilcox agreed in a statement to the AP.

Vos also faced pushback from the state’s upper house, where senators had less appetite to punish a supposed act of naked partisanship with another act of naked partisanship. So now he’d like you all to know that he’s definitely not going home with his tail between his legs — he’s regrouping.

“She said she’s going to follow the law. The most important aspect of the law is following past precedent,” Vos insisted. “If we see that the contributions that the Democratic Party made to her expecting a result in that, that will certainly be something that we have to keep on the table.”

And if that doesn’t work, he’ll get Justice Alito to intervene.

“If they decide to inject their own political bias inside the process and not follow the law, we have the ability to go with the U.S. Supreme Court and we also have the ability to hold her accountable to the voters of Wisconsin,” he went on.

All of which could be dismissed as laughable cope if we hadn’t just witnessed the U.S. Supreme Court’s six conservatives crack their knuckles to overturn the trial panel’s findings of fact and greenlight a massive gerrymander on Wednesday.

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics and appears on the Opening Arguments podcast.

Above the Law takes a behind-the-scenes look at the world of law. The site provides news and insights about the profession’s most colorful personalities and powerful institutions, as well as original commentary on breaking legal developments. Above the Law is published by Breaking Media.

Source URL: https://portside.org/2023-10-15/wisconsin-republicans-vow-let-justices-thomas-alito-gorsuch-and-kavanaugh-impeach