Last week at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a pair of voters filed an Emergency Petition [PDF] seeking to block a GOP scheme to impeach a newly seated Justice on the High Court.
The filing includes an ex parte request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent Republicans in Wisconsin's gerrymandered state Assembly from carrying out their recent threats to impeach Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Petitioners charge that an impeachment brought by the state legislature at this point would be in violation of The Badger State Constitution.
Shortly after Protasiewicz was sworn-in last month --- giving liberals a majority on the WI Supreme Court for the first time in more than 15-years --- voters and a group of mathematicians and computer scientists filed two petitions, Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission and Wright v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, in the state's High Court. The petitions allege Wisconsin's wildly gerrymandered legislative maps violate multiple provisions of the state Constitution. The Clarke and Wright petitioners seek the creation of a fair map prior to the 2024 election.
The new emergency petition, Hanson-Hysel v. Wisconsin State Assembly, was filed last week on behalf of the 1,021,370 Badger State electors whose votes handed Protasiewicz an 11-point victory over her right-wing opponent, Dan Kelly, last April.
The Hanson-Hysel petition advances several core contentions. Most notably: Article 7, Section 1 of the state's Constitution mandates the WI Assembly may initiate impeachment against a judge or justice only in response to "corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors."
In the 175 years since Wisconsin adopted its founding document, just one member of the Badger State judiciary, Circuit Judge Levi Hubbel, was impeached, in 1853 in relation to bribery accusations. He was acquitted of the charges.
Protasiewicz, on the other hand, has not been accused of either a crime or corrupt conduct in office. She has yet to even hear a case. But her presence on the Badger State's high court has arguably become an existential threat to the survival of the Republicans' more than a decade of unfairly gerrymandered majorities in both chambers of the state legislature...