Wisconsin Democrats launched a $4 million campaign Wednesday to combat Republicans looking to unseat the state Supreme Court justice whose recent election created a 4-3 liberal majority on the bench, according to WisPolitics.
Over the past weeks, Republicans have raised issues about Justice Janet Protasiewicz’s campaign trail comments on abortion and painting Republican-drawn maps as “rigged,” according to The New York Times.
Democrats’ “Defend Justice” project website lists legislators’ stances on impeachment and hosts a petition supporting Protasiewicz, and the campaign will include door knocking, text messages and public events, according to WisPolitics.
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“All this does is prove that Justice Protasiewicz and the Democrat Party are one and the same,” Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Speaker Robin Vos said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The timing of yesterday’s order from Justice Protasiewicz and the Democrat Party’s immediate press conference announcing $4 million dollars in attack ads supporting Justice Protasiewicz’s involvement is further indication of coordination between the two,” Vos said. “We fully expect Justice Protasiewicz will recuse herself from handling a case where she has pre-decided the outcome and the Democrat party is fully involved.”
Protasiewicz’s April victory gave Wisconsin’s Supreme Court its first liberal majority in 15 years. When a Democrat-backed coalition filed a lawsuit challenging Republican-drawn legislative maps the same week Protasiewicz took office, Republicans filed motions calling on Protasiewicz to recuse herself from the cases out of a concern that her prior comments show her ruling would favor Democrats, according to the Associated Press.
“Justice Protasiewicz’s campaign statements reveal that her thumb is very much on the scale in this case,” Republicans said in the motion, according to AP.
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While Protasiewicz has promised to recuse herself from cases involving the Wisconsin Democratic party, which donated close to $10 million to her campaign, she has not agreed to recuse from the redistricting lawsuits, according to AP. Vos said he would look into impeachment if she did not recuse.
The Wisconsin Judicial Commission dismissed “several complaints” about her campaign comments, according to a letter Protasiewicz released to AP on Tuesday.
State GOP Chair Brian Schimming told the DCNF that Democrats “are spending millions of dollars to divert attention away from the hyper-partisan and wildly inappropriate prejudgments of Janet Protasiewicz.”
The liberal majority began making changes immediately when the term started in August, removing Director of State Courts Randy Koschnick and creating a committee responsible for tasks that previously belonged to the chief justice. Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Annette Ziegler accused the majority of staging an “unprecedented coup” and a “hostile takeover.”
Protasiewicz and Wisconsin Democrats did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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