Faced with what looks like a near certainty that a newly liberal-controlled state Supreme Court will toss out their notorious 2011 gerrymander, Wisconsin Republicans have threatened to impeach and remove newly elected Justice Janet Protasiewicz before she even rules on her first case. But today Republican leaders in the state House and Senate came forward with a new plan to workaround the lawsuits and controversies over the 2011 gerrymander and adopt new maps created by at least nominally nonpartisan staff.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who’d have to sign the new bill, quickly shot down the whole idea. “Republicans are making a last-ditch effort to retain legislative control by having someone Legislature-picked and Legislature-approved draw Wisconsin’s maps,” said Evers. “That is bogus.”
I haven’t seen enough detail of the proposed bill to know how legit or non-partisan the process would be. But Evers seems to be saying, understandably, that no process under the ultimate control of the current gerrymandered majorities could be trusted. Beyond that, Democrats now have a mandate to ditch the crooked 2011 gerrymander once and for all. So why settle for half measures?
There are so many critical stories unfolding right now and I’m not as up on this new development as I’d like. But this at least suggests to me that Wisconsin Republicans aren’t quite as gung-ho or prepared to impeach Protasiewicz as they’re making out. On its face this gambit makes it look like they know they have a losing hand. But I need to find out more before saying that confidently.