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The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Supreme Court Impeachment: What it Would Look Like and Why It Would Matter – Opinion

Eve Lazarski

On August 1st, the new Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasciewicz was sworn into office. It didn’t take long for our Republican lead legislature to start floating the idea of impeaching the Justice, despite the fact she has yet to hear any case, let alone make a ruling on one. So why exactly are Republicans considering taking such an extreme measure? And what grounds do Republicans have to impeach?

Those are the questions that I’m going to answer in this piece, along with what it would mean going forward if Protasiewicz were to be impeached.

What would the impeachment look like?

Republicans in our State Assembly and Senate claim that this impeachment is due to comments made by Protasiewicz. Early on in the year, back when she was campaigning for her seat on the court, she indicated she believed Wisconsin’s current legislative maps were gerrymandered. The Speaker of the Assembly Robin Vos said only “she shouldn’t have said what she said but she did.”  They have also raised concerns about the fact her campaign received roughly 10 million dollars from the state Democratic Party. 

There is an issue with this impeachment. Although they do have enough Republicans in the Senate to impeach Protasiewicz, Governor Evers is the one who would get to appoint her replacement. So how would Republicans get around that conundrum if they convict? The answer is simple. They would not convict Protasiewicz; the Assembly would impeach her and count on the Senate not holding a trial and leaving her in limbo, tying our supreme court at 3 liberal Justices to 3 conservatives. 

Not only is there a clear disregard on display here of our democratic process, in being allowed to choose who can represent us as Wisconsinites, but there is also clear and blatant hypocrisy from the Republicans. All the problems they list as reasons for impeachment also have been done by them or a conservative Justice in the past.

Public comments on issues

The primary issue Republicans have raised concerns over was the fact that Protasciewicz was very open on the campaign trail that she found Wisconsin’s legislative maps to be ‘rigged’and ‘unfair’, despite several Justices on the court having the same issue with being openly opinionated. 

Rebecca Bradley, one of the court’s conservative Justices, was also open with her stances. She called planned parenthood, which is frequently involved in cases regarding abortion, a “wicked organization.” during her campaign in 2019. She also produced campaign material showing her brandishing a shotgun with an NRA hat on. 

Another conservative justice, Brian Hagedorn said Planned Parenthood was “more devoted to killing babies than to helping woman.” So clearly the issue isn’t actually having a justices talk about hotly debated issues, so why are the Republicans in our legislature suddenly up in arms when Protasiewicz makes similar comments, with much less emotional vigor? 

I believe the only logical answer is that Republicans just don’t want their district maps to be overturned. They’re scared she’s going to, after all the person she ran against in April,  Dan Kelly worked with Republicans on a lawsuit against their maps in 2010 and they were all fine endorsing him in April this year. 

To be fair to Republicans that’s not the only issue they’ve raised, they’ve also talked about donations she received for the democratic party. So let’s talk about that and see if there’s merit to it.

Campaign Contributions

The other issue State Republicans have raised against Protasiewicz is that she received money from the State Democratic Party while she was campaigning. She ended up receiving 10 million dollars from the Democrats. I can understand how this could be concerning to people, but not to Robin Vos, the Speaker of the Assembly who absolutely shouldn’t be raising this question as he was the person who passed the overhaul of campaign finance law in 2015. This allowed for our state political parties to make unlimited contributions to canidates they’ve endorsed and the Republicans used that rule as well to donate about 1.2 million dollars to Dan Kelly’s campaign in April. The result of that was they lost and the Democrats played by the rules they set and she won. 

Yet now they want to turn around and act like this is going to be some major source of corruption when if Dan Kelly had won it would have been the same situation plus as previously stated. Kelly worked with the Republicans on the lawsuit against their maps in 2010. So what is the point of all this?

What Can You Do?

Ultimately I believe that it’s fairly obvious that the Wisconsin Republicans are only seeking to impeach Justice Protasiewicz because they are scared of the prospect of their maps possibly getting turned down so they’ve been taking desperate measures like introducing a redistricting bill that would put the power of redisting into a “non partisan” panel that just so happens to be appointed by the Republican Legislature. The Hail Mary of these desperate measures being this proposed impeachment. 

So that brings us to the question, what can you do about this? Well recently The State Democratic party has started a campaign called “Defend Justice” which is seeking to pressure Republican Lawmakers to vote no on impeachment, so a good idea would be to give a call to your State Legislators in the Assembly and Senate which you can look up here. The same goes for if you still believe she should be impeached given the information in this piece the you can and should also contact your state representatives to make sure your voice is properly heard. In a representative democracy it is our duty, the peoples duty to speak out against something we dislike and for something we like so, raise your voices, participate in the conversation. If you don’t, representatives will vote on these issues anyway, so there’s really nothing to lose.


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About the Contributors
Aidan Barney
Aidan Barney, Editor
Aidan Barney is a Senior at Wauwatosa West and is in his first year as a member of The Tosa Compass. His writing often focuses on recent political events such as anti trans legislation and the gun debate. In his free time Aidan enjoys singing, playing games, and watching movies and tv.
Eve Lazarski
Eve Lazarski, Editor
Eve is a senior at Wauwatosa West High School. She enjoys reading, drawing, and playing the piano and drums. She is a writer and the social media manager.
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