Republicans request liberal Wisconsin judge recuse herself from congressional map lawsuit

Republicans are requesting a liberal Wisconsin judge recuse herself from potentially considering reviewing the Badger State’s congressional maps.

Earlier this month, Democrats asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to reconsider the state’s congressional maps, using the high court’s opinion in a separate elections maps lawsuit as reason to consider a redo over Wisconsin’s congressional maps.

But five members of Wisconsin’s GOP congressional delegation filed a motion Tuesday asking Justice Janet Protasiewicz to recuse herself from hearing the case, pointing to comments she made when she was a candidate running for a spot on the court last year as reason to not weigh in.

Among some of the comments Republicans pointed to included her calling the state’s maps “rigged” and saying she “would certainly welcome the opportunity to have a fresh look at our maps.” However, neither she, nor her Republican opponent, detailed how they would vote on a potential case while on the campaign trail.

The Republicans — Reps. Glenn Grothman, Mike Gallagher, Bryan Steil, Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald — also noted that her campaign received close to $10 million from the state Democratic Party and argued in their motion that “Justice Protasiewicz’s public campaign statements establish a constitutionally intolerable risk that she has prejudged the merits of this case.”

Protasiewicz declined to comment to The Hill about the motion for recusal.

Democrats scored a critical win in December after the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which has a 4-3 liberal majority, ruled to toss out the state’s legislative maps and create new ones. Gov. Tony Evers (D) vetoed the state legislative maps drawn by Republican lawmakers Tuesday, creating a likely stalemate between himself and Republicans.

Protasiewicz won her seat on the state Supreme Court last spring, giving the high court its first liberal majority in 15 years. The makeup of the court has implications on key issues that were expected to go before the court, such as redistricting and the state’s 1849 abortion law.

While Republicans backed off the idea to impeachment Protasiewicz in the event she didn’t recuse herself from an earlier dispute over the state legislative maps, they have been putting more pressure on her this time to recuse herself from the congressional maps challenge.

Updated at 4:51 p.m.

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