If Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz does not recuse from lawsuits challenging the state’s legislative boundaries, Republicans who control the state Legislature might consider impeachment proceedings, the Assembly’s top Republican said Friday.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican from Rochester, said in an interview on WSAU he does not believe impeachment should be considered lightly by lawmakers. But he said the idea could move forward if Protasiewicz does not recuse herself on cases he said she “prejudged” during her campaign for a seat on the state’s highest court.
“If there’s any semblance of honor on the state Supreme Court left, you cannot have a person who runs for the court prejudging a case and being open about it, and then acting on the case as if you’re an impartial observer,” Vos told conservative WSAU host Meg Ellefson when asked whether the Legislature could successfully defend the current boundaries with a liberal-controlled state Supreme Court.
“You cannot have a judge who said, you know, the maps are rigged because she bought into the argument that that’s why we’re winning elections, not the quality of our candidates, and then she sits on that trial acting like she’s gonna listen and hear both sides fairly − that just can’t happen.”
Protasiewicz did not immediately respond to an interview request.
In January, Protasiewicz called the state’s legislative maps “rigged” in a public forum and in March, she told Capital Times reporters in a podcast interview she would “enjoy taking a fresh look at the gerrymandering question.”
“They do not reflect people in this state. I don’t think you could sell any reasonable person that the maps are fair,” Protasiewicz, a former Milwaukee County judge, said in the January forum. “I can’t tell you what I would do on a particular case, but I can tell you my values, and the maps are wrong.”
Vos suggested if Protasiewicz does not recuse from cases involving the maps, she would violate her oath of office, which might push lawmakers to consider impeaching her.
“I want to look and see, does she recuse herself on cases where she has prejudged? That to me is something that is at the oath of office and what she said she was going to do to uphold the Constitution. That to me is a serious offense.”