What Wisconsinites Are Hearing About Defend Justice

Sep 07, 2023

What Wisconsinites Are Hearing About Defend Justice

MADISON, Wis. — This week, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin launched Defend Justice, a multi-pronged statewide campaign to hold Wisconsin Legislative Republicans accountable for their unconstitutional, anti-democratic threat to impeach Justice Janet Protasiewicz—and Wisconsinites are taking notice.

See what Wisconsinites are hearing about Defend Justice:

The New York Times: “After weeks of watching Republicans openly ponder impeachment, Democrats on Wednesday will begin a $4 million counteroffensive over three weeks that is intended to inflict maximum political pain on legislators who vote to block Justice Protasiewicz from serving. […] The Republican Party beyond Wisconsin is seeking to use impeachment as a first line of defense against Democratic officials. […] ‘It’s absurd,’ said Paul Bucher, a Republican who spent 22 years as the Waukesha County district attorney. ‘This jump to impeachment, that’s just what we do today to people we don’t like in office.’”’

WISN: “‘The Democratic Party of Wisconsin announced Wednesday a multi-million dollar campaign meant to pressure Republicans to back off prospects of impeaching Justice Janet Protasiewicz, intensifying tensions between Republicans and Democrats even before Protasiewicz hears her first case. […] Ben Wikler, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said the campaign will include door-knocking, phone calls and advertising. ‘This should be a court where matters are deliberated and the constitution is adjudicated, not a political battlefield,’ Wikler said.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Ben Wikler told reporters during a Tuesday night briefing that the party and other ‘democracy defending’ groups will launch an ‘intensive, multi-pronged statewide campaign’ on Wednesday ‘to make clear to Wisconsin Republicans that an attempt to impeach Janet Protasiewicz would be an absolute political, moral and constitutional disaster.’”

WPR: “During a press conference with reporters Wednesday evening, Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler said the threat alone represents a ‘nuclear football.’ ‘Speaker Vos has publicly threatened, in an act of political extortion, a sitting Supreme Court justice with impeachment, an unprecedented, unconstitutional, impeachment if she were to carry out her job in a way that Robin Vos deems unfit,’ Wikler said. The party plans to spend $1 million on a statewide organizing and mobilization strategy and expects to receive another $3 million from unnamed, ‘allied groups.’ ‘Every legislator at this moment has to look in the mirror and ask if they are willing to sign a death warrant for democracy in our state,’ said Wikler.”

The Hill: “Wisconsin Democrats are launching a $4 million effort aimed at defending a newly elected liberal justice on the state Supreme Court from a potential impeachment push by Republican state legislators. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and other aligned groups rolled out a multimillion dollar initiative Wednesday called Defend Justice that aims ‘to hold Wisconsin Legislative Republicans accountable.’”

Newsweek: “​​The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and other aligned groups unveiled an initiative called Defend Justice on Wednesday that aims to ‘fight back’ against the threat to impeach and remove Protasiewicz. ‘Republicans will do anything to stay in power, including an unlawful threat to impeach, convict, and remove Justice Janet Protasiewicz,’ Wisconsin Democrats wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday alongside a link to the Defend Justice website. ‘We need *you* on our team—take action TODAY and stand with us.’”

Wisconsin Examiner: “At a media briefing Tuesday evening, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler said the threats of impeachment amount to a ‘legislative coup’ against Wisconsin’s judicial branch and that if Republicans took the step to impeach Protasiewicz, it would be a political disaster for them. ‘What Robin Vos and Wisconsin Republicans are publicly threatening to do is to nullify the votes of more than a million Wisconsinites, opening up a Pandora’s box and shredding our principle of judicial independence and the rule of law,’ Wikler said. ‘The impeachment threat is fundamentally a refusal to accept the results of the 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court election. Justice Protasiewicz’s election was overwhelming mere months ago. She has yet to hear a single case on our state’s highest court. Today, the complaints against her were dismissed. For Republicans to fabricate grounds for impeachment of Justice Protasiewicz would be unprecedented and a slap in the face of every Wisconsin voter.’”

Associated Press: “‘Politicians should not be overturning elections because they don’t like the results or the outcome,’ said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard at a news conference outside the state Capitol. ‘And we cannot let Robin Vos and Wisconsin’s Republicans get away with this unconstitutional, unprecedented power grab in our state.’”

Wisconsin State Journal: “On Tuesday, Wikler said impeaching Protasiewicz would amount to overturning the April election that she won by 11 percentage points. ‘The public has to make absolutely clear to Robin Vos and Republicans in the state Legislature that their attempt to make a mockery of our Constitution and nullify the last election is fundamentally out of line and will not be tolerated,’ Wikler said.”

WKOW: “Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer said it’s a desperate attempt to challenge the state’s democratic system, speaking to the 11-point lead that won Protasiewicz the judicial seat. ‘Republican leadership in Wisconsin has worked hard over the past decade to insulate themselves from the will of the voters, and when they’ve been threatened, their response has been to change the rules instead of working to win over the people of Wisconsin,’ said Neubauer.”

CBS58: Democrats said impeaching Protasiewicz would leave a permanent scar on democracy in Wisconsin. ‘We are going to go out across the state of Wisconsin with a multimillion-dollar campaign to ensure that every voter knows that the Republicans in our state Legislature are contemplating the nullification of a landslide election that happened mere months ago in our state,’ Wikler said. […] Democrats said they hoped given Protasiewicz’s decisive victory, any effort to impeach her would lead to Republicans getting punished at the polls next year. ‘It’s time that Robin [Vos] learns the lesson that many people, including Donald Trump, have picked up very recently,’ Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard (D-Madison) said. ‘Elections have consequences, folks, and personal political power does not trump our democracy.’”

FOX 6: “‘An entire election potentially overturned, all because Robin Vos and a few of his Republican colleagues fear losing power,’ said Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard. ‘They feel like the sand is crumbling through their hands.’”

The Washington Post, Jen Rubin Opinion: “Wikler, in a phone interview with me on Wednesday, said, ‘This isn’t a Democratic moment or a Republican moment. It’s a rule-of-law moment.’ He urged Republicans ‘who don’t want to see the party walk off a cliff’ to speak up now.”

MSNBC: “‘This is a real constitutional crisis moment,’ Ben Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, tells The ReidOut. ‘As far as I can tell there’s no state anywhere where a sitting Supreme Court justice has been impeached on purely political grounds because the legislature didn’t like what they thought that justice was going to do.’”