Wisconsin Judge Demands Former Chief Justice to Release Records Linked to Impeachment Advice

A former chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court has been ordered by a Wisconsin judge to produce records related to her work advising the Republican Assembly Speaker on the matter of potentially impeaching a current justice.

Ex-Chief Justice Patience Roggensack was one of three former Supreme Court justices asked by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to provide guidance on pursuing impeachment. Vos had suggested impeaching liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz based on how she rules on a pending redistricting lawsuit that Democrats hope will result in new legislative electoral maps.

The liberal watchdog group American Oversight filed a lawsuit seeking records from Vos and the three former justices. Vos and two of the former justices, David Prosser and Jon Wilcox, turned over records. While Wilcox verbally advised against impeachment, Roggensack has not revealed her advice, and Vos has refused to disclose it.

Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington has issued an order giving Roggensack 30 days to produce any records she has. It is essential, according to the judge, for former justices to produce related records related to their work, regardless of whether they understood it at the time of accepting the invitation to opine on the issue.

The group posted records it received from Vos online, including a text exchange where he asked about conducting a poll on recusal to “affect the discussion.” Vos did not move to impeach Protasiewicz after he was advised against it, but he is now suggesting he may attempt impeachment if she does not rule in favor of upholding the current Republican-drawn maps.

The case of redistricting lawsuit asks that all 132 state lawmakers be up for election next year in newly drawn districts, challenging the current Republican-controlled maps that cemented the party’s majorities.

Wisconsin’s Assembly districts are among the most gerrymandered nationally, with Republicans routinely winning more seats than expected based on their average share of the vote.


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