On Friday, October 6, 2023, The New York Times reported that the recently elected Liberal majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court has decided to hear a challenge to the state’s Republican-drawn legislative districts. This decision has sparked threats from Republicans to impeach one of the Court’s newest justices, Janet Protasiewicz.
By accepting the case directly without going through lower courts first, the Court’s liberals are challenging the district maps that have cemented GOP control of the state legislature. This move has infuriated Republicans, with two conservative justices objecting to taking the case. Justice Protasiewicz defended her decision not to recuse herself, writing that precedent, not personal preference determines recusal.
Republicans have vowed impeachment against Justice Protasiewicz for statements made during her campaign supporting abortion rights and calling the maps “rigged.” They allege this violates judicial ethics codes. Such a move would bar her from ruling on the maps case until concluded. With GOP majorities in both legislative chambers, removal is likely.
Democrats are hoping new maps can boost their representation for 2024, while Republicans feel compelled to stop Justice Protasiewicz to maintain their advantage. Both sides are rushing to act with time short before the next statewide elections.
Justice Protasiewicz has not publicly discussed the case but pledged during her campaign to only recuse from Democratic Party suits. Political observers say partisanship has infiltrated every branch, with the line between justices and politics now “completely disintegrated.” The Supreme Court fight intensifies Wisconsin’s bare-knuckled partisan atmosphere.
Source: The New York Times