Wisconsin Democrats launch $4M effort to fight GOP push to impeach liberal judge

Wisconsin Democrats are launching a $4 million effort aimed at defending a newly elected liberal justice on the state Supreme Court from a potential impeachment push by Republican state legislators.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and other aligned groups rolled out a multimillion dollar initiative Wednesday called Defend Justice that aims “to hold Wisconsin Legislative Republicans accountable.”

Republicans in the state Legislature have floated impeaching liberal Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz, the state party said in a press release.

Protasiewicz won a vacant seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in April against conservative candidate Daniel Kelly. Her victory established a 4-3 liberal majority on the state’s high court. 

Ahead of the election, Protasiewicz was notably outspoken about her views on abortion and the state’s legislative map, calling the appointment of state legislative districts “rigged” and expressing support for abortion access.

Neither she nor Kelly said how they would officially rule on the state’s 1849 abortion law, which effectively bans abortions. The court is expected to hear a challenge to that law.

The court may also hear a lawsuit urging the state to throw out its GOP-drawn state legislative map, which could threaten Republican control of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Top state Republicans have floated impeaching Protasiewicz if she doesn’t recuse herself from the case.

“The idea that we’re going to immediately start an impeachment process is probably too radical. I want to look and see, does she recuse herself on cases where she has prejudged,” Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said in an interview on “The Meg Ellefson Show” in mid-August.

“That to me is something that is at the oath of office and the — what she said she was going to do to uphold the Constitution. That to me is a serious offense,” he said.

Vos’s comments signal Republican concerns over the new 4-3 liberal majority, which could be more favorable to attempts to throw out the state’s abortion law or state legislative map.

In an effort to fight GOP questions about her objectivity, the liberal justice published a letter from the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, which said that several complaints received regarding her personal views had been dismissed, according to The Associated Press

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