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Vos retreats

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Lehnmat, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve been paying attention to the various public statements (and the conspicuously empty space where certain public statements should have been, had impeachment been imminent) of various Wisconsin politicians and politics-watchers over the last week or so, this shouldn’t be particularly surprising:

Robin Vos, the powerful Republican speaker of the State Assembly, said at a news conference in Madison that he would not seek to remove Justice Protasiewicz based on the argument he and fellow Republicans had been making for two months — that statements she made calling the maps “rigged” during her campaign for office this year compelled impeachment if she refused to recuse herself from a case challenging them.

Now, Mr. Vos said, the focus would be on what Justice Protasiewicz does “in office.” He said that if the court ruled against the Republican-drawn maps and other conservative causes, he would appeal its decisions to the U.S. Supreme Court. Impeachment, he said, remained “on the table” but was not something Republicans would pursue now.

I’m not inclined to be particularly worried about the new can-kicked-down-the-road threat. Everyone knows, in broad strokes, what she’s going to do with her vote on redistricting, and what she’s going to do with that vote will be popular with the median Wisconsin voter. The idea that he doesn’t have the votes for an unpopular impeachment to prevent a ruling that would be very bad for GOP assembly members, but he could rustle up the votes for an unpopular but far less effective impeachment from a caucus with a lot more members who now find themselves in the foreign-to-them position to worry about swing voters in the next general election seems improbable.

Nice work once again orchestrating substantial attention on and pushback against this scheme by Ben Wikler and Wisconsin Democrats. Wikler takes stock of the situation here.

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