On Monday, October 16, 2023, the Isthmus reported that Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos vowed that he would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to disqualify Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Protasiewicz from a redistricting case. This comes after Protasiewicz refused to withdraw from the lawsuit challenging Assembly and Senate district boundaries that Republicans drew in 2021.
In a 47-page encyclical, Protasiewicz clarified her position on the matter, emphasizing that her previous statements regarding the boundaries being “rigged” and “unfair” should not be interpreted as an indication of how she would rule in the case.
Vos refrained from reiterating his threat to initiate impeachment proceedings against Protasiewicz, which would remove her from the case, but he did not rule out the possibility altogether. In fact, he reaffirmed that impeachment remains an option, despite opinions from two retired Supreme Court justices that impeachment is not justified.
Protasiewicz has also cited the fact that the Judicial Commission dismissed complaints against her and that she won her election by a landslide 11% percentage point margin.
Protasiewicz has argued that partisan groups have spent heavily on winning Supreme Court elections since 2016, including $2.6 million spent by the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform in 2016, $940,000 spent by Greater Wisconsin Committee in 2018, $1.25 million spent by the Republican State Leadership Committee in 2019, and $1.88 million spent by A Better Wisconsin Together Political Fund in 2020. She also noted that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin spent $9.9 million to elect her, which is only 19.4% of total spending in her election.
Protasiewicz has also pointed out that current and past justices have vigorously resisted calls for recusal, citing quotes from retired Justice David Prosser and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Karofsky, and Dallet. She has also stated that the Supreme Court would “grind to a halt” if justices withdrew from cases whenever questions were raised about “non-party groups who supported their campaign.”
Despite this, Justice Grassl Bradley has joined Vos in condemning Protasiewicz’s decision to help decide the redistricting suit, stating that the probability of actual bias on Protasiewicz’s part is likely 100%.