The Republican Party’s plan to rule the state of Wisconsin forever, explained
Wisconsin’s legislature is gerrymandered to ensure that Democrats will never win it. Republicans have a plan to keep it that way.
A quirk in the state constitution, however, may allow Wisconsin’s gerrymandered legislature to strip Protasiewicz of her ability to decide cases, and to do so indefinitely. That would leave the state supreme court evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, and thus unable (or, at least, unwilling) to strike down the state’s gerrymander.
According to the New York Times, “Republicans in Wisconsin are coalescing around the prospect of impeaching” Protasiewicz. If the state assembly moved forward with impeachment, and then the gerrymandered state Senate convicted her, that wouldn’t actually be that big of a deal. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers could immediately appoint a replacement justice, who would then provide the fourth vote to strike down the gerrymandered maps.
But the state constitution also provides that “no judicial officer shall exercise [her] office, after [s]he shall have been impeached, until [her] acquittal.” So the state assembly could conceivably impeach Protasiewicz, and then the state senate could delay her trial forever — effectively creating a vacancy on the court that could last for a very long time.
Michelle Goldberg/The New York Times:
Wisconsin Republicans Try to Subvert Democracy, Again
Janet Protasiewicz, the left-leaning candidate in the nonpartisan contest, was careful not to declare how she would rule in specific cases, but she said that she was personally pro-choice and that she wanted to take a fresh look at the state’s “rigged” electoral maps. She won by 11 points, about as near to a landslide as anyone in closely divided Wisconsin is likely to get. The voters’ message couldn’t have been clearer.
But Wisconsin Republicans may have one move left to thwart their inconvenient citizenry. It looks increasingly likely that they could use their nearly impregnable majority to impeach Protasiewicz before she’s heard a single case. “Anyone who cares about democracy should consider this threat to be deadly serious,” said Ben Wikler, the chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. The only way to head off this autocratic power play, he said, “is if there’s a massive uproar that drowns out the voices of election overturners and Constitution shredders.”
Charlie Sykes/The Bulwark:
Justice Scalia Would Like a Word
The conservative flip-flop on judicial speech
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin…
Before they pull the trigger, however, Wisconsin’s Republicans might want to brush up on their Scalia. The late conservative judicial icon had some thoughts on the question of whether judicial candidates should be able to talk about political issues.
In the 2002 case, Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, Scalia wrote the majority opinion in which the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment does not permit the government to prevent judicial candidates from stating their opinions on disputed political or legal issues.
Scalia was joined by the court’s other conservative members — including Clarence Thomas. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and three other liberal justices dissented.
The GOP Is Losing the Doctor Vote in Pennsylvania. Will the Party Flatline in 2024?
A political realignment around health care is reshaping state politics.
From the beginning, Derry Township was a GOP stronghold (founder Milton Hershey was a staunch Republican), home to descendants of the chocolate factory’s Italian immigrant laborers and Pennsylvania Dutch farmers who settled in the rural, blue-collar and conservative hamlet. It was a “one-party town,” said lifelong resident and local historian Lou Paioletti, a Democrat and Derry Township’s elected tax collector. “Way back in the early days, there was an unwritten expectation that the chocolate company workers be registered Republican.” This GOP mood prevailed through the turn of this century. Republican presidential candidates, including Donald Trump in 2016, regularly won the township — the beneficiary of a massive Republican voter registration advantage.
By the early 2010s, though, the med center was making Derry Township suburban and transient — and more Democratic. After the 2012 election, The Sun, the Hershey area weekly newspaper, reported local Republicans’ “disappointment” with voter returns that was “bound to set off a round of soul searching — and bloodletting.” During Trump’s presidency, Democratic voter registration dramatically increased; in 2020, Joe Biden prevailed here.
Republicans are trying to find a new term for ‘pro-life’ to stave off more electoral losses
Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., summarized the closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill as being focused on “pro-baby policies.”
At a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans this week, the head of a super PAC closely aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., presented poll results that suggested voters are reacting differently to commonly used terms like “pro-life” and “pro-choice” in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, said several senators who were in the room.
The polling, which NBC News has not independently reviewed, was made available to senators Wednesday by former McConnell aide Steven Law and showed that “pro-life” no longer resonated with voters.
“What intrigued me the most about the results was that ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ means something different now, that people see being pro-life as being against all abortions … at all levels,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said in an interview Thursday.
We know them for who they are.
Noah Smith/”Noahpinion” on Substack:
The danger of another American civil war is low
Re-upping some arguments I’ve made before.
Six or seven years ago, during the early days of the Trump administration, this rhetoric would have seemed all too realistic. I could clearly see how the U.S. might fall into a civil war similar to the one that laid waste to Spain in the 1930s — a contested election leading to a split within the military that eventually spirals into an all-out contest for control of the country.
In 2023, though, I’m not so worried. The 2020 election came and went, and sure enough, it was contested, even with a tiny little bit of violence. But there were no signs of a split within the U.S. Armed Forces. There’s little reason to expect that any 2024 replay would turn out differently.
And if the U.S. Military doesn’t split and fight itself, the prospects for civil war are low. With liberal cities and conservative exurbs, and each type of place heavily dependent on the other, the country just isn’t set up for a “national divorce” like the one we had in 1860.
‘A Big Circle Jerk’: John Fetterman Dares Republicans To Impeach Joe Biden
“Go ahead. Do it, I dare you,” said the Democratic senator. “It’s a loser.”
“Go ahead. Do it, I dare you,” Fetterman said during an interview with a handful of reporters in his Capitol Hill office on Wednesday. “If you can find the votes, go ahead, because you’re going to lose. It’s a loser.”
“It would just be like a big circle jerk on the fringe right,” the senator added. “Sometimes you just gotta call their bullshit. If they’re going to threaten, then let’s see it.”
from Matt Robison and Cliff Schecter: