September 18, 2023 at 11:10 a.m.
Say No to Protasiewicz Impeachment
The Republican dominated Wisconsin Assembly is threatening to impeach duly elected Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz before she has heard a single case, unless the Justice agrees to recuse herself from any cases dealing with gerrymandered maps. The GOP is claiming bias because Protasiewicz had described current maps as "rigged" during the campaign. It is true that Justice Protasiewicz did call the maps rigged and expressed an interest in taking a fresh look at electoral maps. However, Protasiewicz did not prejudge how she might rule on any specific case that may come before the court. Describing Wisconsin electoral maps as "rigged" is not prejudicial but an objective fact. A group of professors at Duke University created over 19000 random assembly maps and concluded that the current electoral maps showed more Republican bias than 99 percent of the random plans, describing the Wisconsin maps as highly gerrymandered. Jowei Chen at the University of Michigan reached a similar conclusion showing Republican bias over twice that of the most biased randomly generated maps.
It should be remembered that Janet Protasiewicz won her election by 11 percent, a landslide by today's standard. It is clear that her willingness to revisit gerrymandered electoral maps along with the 1844 abortion law resonated favorably with the electorate.This effort by the GOP Assembly to negate the will of the people is an attempt to secure majorities in both the Senate and Assembly that they have enjoyed since 2011 when the current maps were drawn exclusively by Republicans in secret meetings using analytics to maximize their advantage. The GOP knows that fair maps will loosen the stranglehold they hold in the state house and are going to this extreme measure to prevent fair maps. Charlie Sykes, founder of The Bulwark states, "Republicans feel deeply entitled to their gerrymandered majority; for them this is an existential issue".
I urge everyone, especially those that voted for Janet Protasiwicz, to contact their Assemlyperson and let them know that elections matter.