Lawsuit over legislative boundary maps takes shape

A lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's legislative district maps has been accepted by the state Supreme Court, with politics around and among justices swirling as oral arguments are scheduled for November.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

October 13, 2023

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A lawsuit over Wisconsin’s current legislative boundary maps is now being fast-tracked in the Wisconsin Supreme Court with oral arguments set for November. That’s after liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz declined to recuse or step aside from the case and the liberal majority on the court ruled to take up the redistricting lawsuit.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos had moved to pursue impeaching Protasiewicz over statements she made during her campaign that the legislative maps are “rigged” and “unfair.”

In her decision to reject recusing, Protasiweicz wrote: “No other justice has decided that they must recuse, even though their prior writings (including from just last year) might indicate firm preconceptions of certain issues in this action. And if prejudgment is the concern, their writings are just as relevant as my campaign remarks.”

Vos had asked former conservative justices whether impeaching Protasiweicz was possible. One of them, David Prosser, told the Speaker not to try.

“Impeachment is so serious, severe, and rare that it should not be considered unless the subject has committed a crime, or the subject has committed indisputable ‘corrupt conduct’ while ‘in office,'” Prosser said

In turn, Vos released a statement on the matter saying: “Justice Protasiewicz should have recused herself. We think the United States Supreme Court precedent compels her recusal, and the United State Supreme Court will have the last word here,” said Vos.

Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley also has her eye on the persuasion of nation’s high court. In her dissent over the Wisconsin Supreme Court taking up the redistricting lawsuit, Bradley wrote: “Protasiweicz’s failure to recuse from this case despite her blatant bias should be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court before Wisconsin taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for a redistricting do-over.”

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