Although she has only been on the bench of the Wisconsin Supreme Court for a short time, liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz has already sparked plenty of controversy.
She has come under fire from Republicans in the state who are concerned in part over her record of receiving political donations. In an effort to impeach the newly elected justice, GOP officials claimed that the state Democratic Party gave her a total of nearly $10 million ahead of an election she won by 11 points earlier this year.
Not only did Democratic operatives defend the donations, but they vowed to continue pouring money into a mounting effort to derail the GOP’s push to unseat her.
Another central issue in the Republican Party’s impeachment effort involves Protasiewicz’s previous comments about congressional district maps. With her addition to the state’s highest court, there is now a liberal majority for the first time in 15 years, which could give Democrats the opportunity they need to redraw district lines in their favor.
Protasiewicz has hinted in the past that she would be in favor of tossing out the GOP-drawn maps, describing the current boundaries as “unfair” and “rigged.”
Even Republican state lawmakers who have not called for her ouster say she should recuse herself from any future cases involving district maps, claiming her remarks indicate her bias on the issue.
If Justice Protasiewicz does not join in a case where she has a bias or prejudice concerning a party or a party’s lawyer, the members of the State Assembly should not vote to impeach. If she does, they are obligated to do so.https://t.co/jT75kRV6YJ
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) September 7, 2023
While there has been no official impeachment effort launched as of this writing, GOP state Rep. Shae Sortwell defended the notion against vehement opposition from the other side of the aisle.
“To say that this is somehow undemocratic when it’s literally written into the state constitution that this is the mechanism for oversight if it is necessary,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s necessary today, I’m not it’s not necessary.”
State Democrats, on the other hand, are already preparing their strategy for protecting the justice.
“Every legislator must look in the mirror and ask whether they are willing to erase the votes of over a million Wisconsinites, including their own constituents, and shred our own system of government for their own game,” said Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubaurer, a Democrat.
Both parties are also paying attention to the Supreme Court due to the likelihood that it will ultimately decide whether a statewide abortion ban, reimplemented after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Roe v. Wade decision last year, will remain in place.