WI Court of Supreme Court
Case Name: Rebecca Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission
Case No.: 2023AP001399-OA
Officials: Janet C. Protasiewicz, J
Focus: Judge Recusal Motion
Here, individual Wisconsin citizens ask the court to hear an original action concerning the State’s legislative districts. The Wisconsin Legislature seeks to intervene——and, joined by a group of senators, has asked the judge to recuse because the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) made substantial contributions to the judge’s campaign ($9.9 million) and would benefit if this court were to order the adoption of new maps. According to the judge, the claim lacks merit for two reasons. First, the Legislature has not cited any case in which a judge recused because a political party that was not involved in the litigation had contributed to their campaign. The Legislature’s second argument: that the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution requires recusal because, while campaigning, the judge described the legislative maps as “gerrymandered,” “rigged,” and “unfair,” and expressed disagreement with the Johnson case (which ordered the adoption of these maps). The Legislature views this as legally impermissible. The judge noted that these were personal values not how she thinks the court should rule.