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Judicial News, Part II: More on the Wisconsin Shenanigans

Yesterday, we had an item on the chicanery in Wisconsin; unable to win elections the old-fashioned way, Republicans there have taken to exploiting loopholes. The current plan is to find some reason to impeach newly elected Democratic state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz, then to hold off on a trial, effectively suspending her indefinitely and turning a 4-3 Democratic majority into 3-3.

The Bulwark has access to someone who is really on top of the Wisconsin government—reporter Bill Lueders—and he ran down some of the specific elements of the current dispute. We think they're worth passing along:

The point here is that while Wisconsin Republicans are engaged in a fair bit of problematic behavior, while also choking on their current diet of sour grapes, Wisconsin Democrats are not innocent lambs here. They are certainly playing some hardball (although hardball that is entirely within the rules established by Wisconsin law).

One other thing to add to the item from yesterday. If Republicans in the Wisconsin state House impeach Protasiewicz, and then Republicans in the Wisconsin state Senate refuse to actually take the matter up, it would sideline the judge... unless she resigns. In that case, then Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) would choose a replacement, and among the folks eligible for that honor are... Janet Protasiewicz.

The downside to resigning and being re-appointed is that Protasiewicz would no longer be entitled to a 10-year term, and would have to run for office again in an election next year. But exactly how much of a downside is that? As The Bulwark's Charlie Sykes observes, this year's election had Democrats coming out of the woodwork to vote for Protasiewicz (and, by extension, to vote to protect abortion access). Do Wisconsin Republicans really want to have her on the ballot again, on two different occasions, in 2024?

In short, there is quite a chess game going on in Wisconsin right now. (Z)

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