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Wisconsin Republicans: We Tried To Fire All The State Dem Officials *Metaphorically*
'It was symbolic,' their lawyers, for some unknown reason, admit.
Wisconsin Republicans are seemingly backing off from their sore loser attempts to overturn the recent state supreme court election they lost like losers in April. They’d pitched a fit ever since voters dared elect Justice Janet Protasiewicz, who is not conservative and admits it publicly.
While campaigning in an openly partisan election, Protasiewicz expressed her views about the state’s jacked-up gerrymandered maps that Republicans designed so they could remain in power forever. Republicans demanded that she recuse herself from any cases involving the maps — although that was a major reason voters turned out in large numbers to vote for her. If she refused, they’d impeach Protasiewicz but in a scuzzy way that would make it impossible for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to replace her with another liberal.
Protasiewicz called their bluff earlier this month. She declared, “If precedent does not warrant recusal, my oath binds me to participate.” This set up a standoff, and Republicans seemingly blinked like wimps with dry eyes.
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Last week, state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said they’d focus on what Justice Protasiewicz does “in office,” but the superficially reasonable statement was couched in a threat: If the court strikes down their precious maps and rules against some other conservative pet causes, state Republicans would appeal all the way to the MAGA Supreme Court. He didn’t rule out impeachment entirely, claiming it was still “on the table.”
“If they decide to inject their own political bias inside the process and not follow the law, we have the ability to go to the Supreme Court,” Vos said, “and we also have the ability to hold her accountable to the voters of Wisconsin.”
We keep saying this because it’s true: Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly elected Protasiewicz on the very platform that so offends Republicans, who never complained about political bias on the court when it was a conservative majority.
Democrats launched a $4 million pressure campaign on Republican lawmakers, and while so far only one elected Republican has publicly opposed impeachment — state Rep. Scott Johnson of Jefferson — Democrats are running with the narrative that public outcry caused Republicans to back down. We’ll take it.
Meanwhile, the attorneys representing Vos, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, and Senate President Chris Kapenga admitted in a new court filing that the Republican attempts to remove Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe was “symbolic” or, more simply put, total bullshit. It’s unclear how “symbolic” termination is even supposed to work.
Senate Republicans voted to fire Wolfe last month. Democrats argued that Wolfe, who was unanimously confirmed in 2019, doesn’t need Senate confirmation to continue in her role in the first place. Democratic state Attorney General Josh Kaul announced a lawsuit in response to the Republican-controlled Senate’s vote for removal.
Wolfe had stood up against Donald Trump’s Big Lie about election fraud costing him the state in 2020. This made her an obvious target, and Republicans attempting to remove Wolfe prior to the next presidential election was no coincidence.
Consistent with Trump’s own Big Lie lawsuits, Republicans were making public statements as recently as Sunday that contradicted their own lawyers, who conceded that Wolfe legally holds her job and lawmakers have no power to replace her. Wolfe stayed put in her position, as she and Democrats rightly agreed that the Senate vote was illegitimate. Now, Vos is distancing himself from his own lawyers.
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“The lawsuit is the Senate’s lawsuit. Of course, I was named in the lawsuit, but the attorneys are not ours,” Vos told reporters when asked about the disconnect between lawmakers’ public statements and the legal filing. “We were not involved in negotiations. We were not involved in any of that. That’s the Senate’s thing.”
OK, sure. Just make sure the checks to counsel are more than just “symbolic.”
We’ll keep an eye on Wisconsin, but for now, it looks as if democracy remains standing.
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