New Lawsuit Seeks To Stop Impeachment Proceedings Against Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Sept. 11, Tim Burns — a former liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate — filed a petition in the state Supreme Court on behalf of two voters seeking to stop the Wisconsin State Assembly from conducting impeachment proceedings against recently elected Justice Janet Protasiewicz.

The petition comes after Republican members of the Wisconsin State Assembly threatened to impeach Protasiewicz for her refusal to recuse herself from redistricting litigation over the state’s gerrymandered legislative maps, her prior statements regarding unfair maps and her receipt of campaign contributions from the Wisconsin Democratic Party.  

The petitioners — both of whom cast votes for Protasiewicz in April 2023 — allege that there is no basis to “justify the permanent destruction” of their fundamental right to vote given that “there is no factual finding of any crime or corruption” to justify the impeachment of Protasiewicz under the state constitution. They additionally note that Wisconsin Supreme Court justices “routinely do not recuse themselves” from cases concerning issues they campaigned on and that “six of the seven Supreme Justices have received contributions during the campaigns from party committees.”

“The votes of over one million Wisconsinites are about to be assigned to the dustbin of history by an Un-American, anti-democratic powerplay by the Wisconsin state legislature that is designed to and will simultaneously destroy judicial independence and the right of voters to effectuate political change in Wisconsin,” the lawsuit states. 

The petitioners assert that if Protasiewicz were impeached, they  would face “irreparable harm” regarding the “destruction” of their right to vote for “judicial officers through elections.” Finally, the petitioners contend that the potential impeachment of Protasiewicz would “curtail the Court’s constitutionally prescribed role as a separate independent branch of government to adjudicate cases and controversies and say what the Constitution means.” 

The petitioners ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court to issue an emergency order to prohibit the Legislature from conducting impeachment proceedings. They also ask the state Supreme Court to permanently prevent the Legislature from holding impeachment proceedings unless a majority of the justices rules that “the Wisconsin constitutional standards for impeachment have been met.”

Read the petition here.

Learn more about the case here.