Vos asks former justices to review impeachment framework, Senate GOP leader not involved

NOW: Vos asks former justices to review impeachment framework, Senate GOP leader not involved

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he's putting together a panel of former state Supreme Court justices to review the framework surrounding impeachment as he continues to weigh his options on removing a liberal justice.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said he's not interested in talking about the unprecedented step of removing a sitting justice during an interview with CBS 58. 

"I'm very frustrated with this line of questioning," LeMahieu said. "I've never talked about impeaching Justice Protasiewicz."

Vos announced his plans a day after expressing optimism that impeaching liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz wouldn't be necessary if Democrats got behind Assembly Republicans' bill to create a nonpartisan redistricting model to draw new electoral maps before the 2024 elections.

Gov. Tony Evers and top Democrats quickly rejected the proposal that mirrors legislation they've supported for years, and a concept Vos has opposed until now.

Vos said he's offering Democrats an "off-ramp" to impeachment with the redistricting bill, which could bypass costly lawsuits on the issue before the state Supreme Court.

'We've given an off-ramp to be able to have these nonpartisan maps, which makes the need of the court to draw them less likely," Vos said during an interview on Wisconsin Eye's Newsmakers program. "Hopefully Democrats are the ones that realize they have the ability to get off this path, but it has to be two sides working together to do it."

Vos said the panel will consist of three former state Supreme Court justices and anticipates releasing their findings in the "next week or two."

"How does the process work? What rises to the level of impeachment," Vos said about the panel. "If you look around the county, around the judicial system, we want to make sure we're doing something that is not totally outside the norm."

LeMahieu said he's not been involved in Vos' effort to investigate impeachment and has not talked to his caucus about it. 

Vos also said impeachment is a "last resort" and "hopes that doesn't happen" after floating removing Protasiewicz if she doesn't recuse herself from cases involving the legislative maps.

The Senate leader took a similar tone and said, "will look at all avenues, if, and when she doesn't recuse."

Republicans have taken issue with Protasiewicz' comments during the campaign where she called the current maps "rigged" and "unfair."

Democrats have launched a media blitz campaign in hopes to pressure Republicans to think twice about impeaching Protasiewicz. The Republican Accountability Project released a 30-second ad Tuesday on the matter. That's on top of a $4 million effort by the state Democratic Party to try and persuade Republicans to think twice about impeachment.

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