(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s assembly speaker is talking about taking Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz at her word, while looking at a limited review of the state’s redistricting process.
Speaker Robin Vos issued a statement after Protasiewicz announced she would not recuse herself from two redistricting cases.
“Justice Protasiewicz should have recused herself,” Vos said.
Republicans have been calling for Protasiewicz to recuse herself after she said during last spring’s campaign for the high court that Wisconsin’s political maps are “unfair” and “rigged.”
Protasiewicz didn’t address those concerns but rather dismissed concerns from Republicans who worried about her campaign donations from the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
Vos said Wisconsin lawmakers likely won’t make the final decision on Protasiewicz’s decision not to recuse herself.
“We think the United States Supreme Court precedent compels her recusal, and the United States Supreme Court will have the last word here,” Vos said.
Vos also said Protasiewicz’s decision not to recuse herself could have a limited impact on the redistricting cases, because the specific challenges are limited themselves.
“Justice Protasiewicz is asking to be taken at her word that she will apply the law. Given the Wisconsin Supreme Court is limiting its review of the redistricting case to two questions, legal contiguity and separation of powers, applying the law should be straightforward,” Vos explained. “The Wisconsin Supreme Court addressed these very questions less than two years ago, and the law remains the same.”
The Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 on Friday to fast track the challenge to Wisconsin’s electoral maps.
The group Law Forward, which is suing to challenge the maps, said the decision to review the maps is a win for everyone in Wisconsin.
“For democracy to work for us all it must include us all, and we are very proud to be a part of this important effort to ensure our elected representatives represent us instead of trying to rule over us,” Dan Lenz, staff counsel at Law Forward said in a statement, “We look forward to presenting our incredibly strong case in court.”
Vos and other Republicans say Wisconsin’s electoral maps have been reviewed by both the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the federal court and have been upheld. The only map that was rejected because of gerrymandering was Gov. Tony Evers’ map that was rejected by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2021 for racial gerrymandering and violating the Voting Rights Act.
Briefs in Law Forward’s maps challenge are due to the state supreme court next week. Oral arguments are set for next month.
Law Forward is asking the new liberal-majority Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s political maps ahead of next November’s elections.