by Benjamin Yount
Two Republican state senators are talking about impeachment of Wisconsin’s new liberal-majority Supreme Court.
Sen. Dan Knodl, R-Germantown, said he’s willing to consider impeaching Justice Janet Protasiewicz because of what she said about the state’s political maps during her run for the Supreme Court in the spring.
“We’ll see what she does with these suits if they come forward,” Knodl (pictured above) said. “But there’s going to be a compelling case that going to be very concerning if she sits on that court and rules on these things.”
Protasiewicz called Wisconsin’s current political maps “unfair” and “rigged” for Republicans.
Within days of Protasiewicz joining the court in early April, groups asked Protasiewicz and the court to redraw the political maps.
Those groups also said Wisconsin’s political maps are unfair, and favor Republicans.
Protasiewicz has not said whether she plans to step aside during any redistricting cases that appear before the court.
Also, Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, talked about impeachment.
Wanggaard pointed to the emails that show disfunction in the Supreme Court between the liberal justices, the court’s new commissioner and the conservative chief justice,
“Judicial Commissioners are supposed to hold justices accountable, but their actions must be approved by the same justices that appeared to violate their oaths. My committee will hear the nominations of two Commissioners next week to hear their thoughts. The voters only get to hold a single justice accountable every 10 years, and the next election isn’t for two more years. And the legislature’s only way to hold justices accountable is the very serious step of impeachment,” Wanggaard said. “I don’t know what the right answer is to restore the rule of law in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, but all options need to be on the table.”
Wisconsin law allows for the impeachment of Supreme Court justices with a majority vote in the State Assembly, and a two-thirds vote in the State Senate. Republicans have the numbers to clear both thresholds.
But it may not come to that.
The Wisconsin Law Journal reported earlier this week lawmakers could impeach Protasiewicz, but not vote to remove her from the court, and leave her in limbo.
State law requires an impeached justice not hear any cases until the impeachment vote is final. Impeaching Protasiewicz would leave the state Supreme Court split, 3-3.
Neither Knodl or Wanggaard is saying when or if impeachment proceedings could begin.
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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square.