The Wisconsin Assembly Should Be Ashamed

This is a submission from Protect Our Wisconsin Retirement Security (POWRS). We are a volunteer, statewide group of retired teachers and public employees working (since Gov. Walker) to protect the state public retirement system, Social Security, Medicare, and advocate for better retirement options for all Wisconsin workers.
We are not a partisan group and this topic is outside our normal mission, but this attack on the integrity of our elections demands action.

Subject:   Impeachment of Justice Janet Protasiewicz

To:           The Republican members of the Wisconsin Assembly

From:      The undersigned individuals and organizations


We are writing to oppose your actions to impeach Justice Janet Protasiewicz or interfere with her serving on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.


In America when voters elect someone, opposition politicians don’t get to overturn that election just to stay in power. Your threats to impeach Justice Protasiewicz because she has opinions on gerrymandering (and expressed them during her election campaign) is an attack on democracy and a denial of her right to free speech.


Justice Protasiewicz has done nothing to justify impeachment. With elected judges it is expected that candidates will share their judicial philosophy and views on major issues so voters can make informed choices. The Wisconsin Judicial Commission has found her campaign statements did not violate the judicial ethics code.


Just because you do not like her views is not grounds for impeachment. Neither is the fact that a liberal judge got elected and created a new liberal majority on the Court. The Wisconsin Constitution and statues establish proof of “corrupt conduct in office or the commission of a crime or misdemeanor” for impeachment proceedings. No such misconduct has occurred.


Your egregious actions are clearly a hypocritical political maneuver to nullify her election and maintain control of the legislature. Your un-American, un-democratic power grab violates Constitutional separation of powers, undermines  judicial independence and the right of voters to effectuate political change in Wisconsin though the court system.


Wisconsin’s extremely gerrymandered districts were the a major issue in the Supreme Court election. By an overwhelming margin Wisconsin voters specifically chose democracy over partisan gerrymandering by electing Justice Protasiewicz. By suggesting impeachment you are deliberately ignoring the clear will of the people of Wisconsin.


Historically Wisconsin Supreme Court justices have routinely not recused themselves from cases concerning issues they campaigned on. At least six of seven recent justices have received contributions during the campaigns from political parties. We reject your newly found concerns for judicial ethics. We are not fooled by your recent desire to enact self-serving, “non-partisan” redistrictinig procedures  We condemn your middle of the night rush to enact this legislation with no public input. We condemn Rep. Vos’s secret consultation with former justices to manufacture a justification for impeachment.


All these actions bring disgrace and dishonor on Wisconsin and our democratic heritage. You should be ashamed!


As voting constituents and organizations representing Wisconsin citizens, we urge all members of the legislature to immediately stop all efforts impeach Justice Protasiewicz.