Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Supremes dismiss constitutional challenge, for now

In an order issued a few minutes ago, the State Supreme Court dismissed a petition asking it to get involved now in the question of whether unappropriated state funds can be spent during a state government shutdown.

The petition, by Minneapolis attorney Erick Kaardal on behalf of four Republican state senators, argues that the past practice — at least from 2005 — of funding “core functions” of state government during a shotdown, violates the constitutional provision that says no state money can be spent without a legal appropriation.

The court didn’t consider the merits of the argument, but ruled that the petition didn’t meet the standards it has set for asking the Supremes to consider a case that hasn’t come up through the usual appeals process. It dismissed the petition “without prejudice,” which means it might consider the argument under different circumstances.

Kaardal is telling his clients that the circumstances will change as soon as the lower courts take some action in the pending request for court approval of a plan to keep core state government functions going during the possible shutdown. That action could occur as soon as tomorrow, when Ramsey District Court Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin is scheduled to hear arguments in the shutdown spending case. He recommends the senators consider refiling the petition then.

The Supreme Court dismissal order is here.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 06/22/2011 - 05:18 pm.

    I do have my thoughts on this. Basically, the guiding principle for the courts in all these legal proceedings going forward, will be an extreme unwillingness to get involved in political issues that should be decided by the political branches of government, the executive and the legislative. To put it another way, the judges are really aggravated that this hot potato is thrown in their lap, and not inclined to view with favor, those politicians whose inability to do their jobs has been the cause of said potatoes arriving in said laps. They dress up their anger in legalistic hoo haw which, as in this case, translates into some procedural gobbledygook, but the underlying view that judges should do the politics for politicians will drive all litigation going forward.

    What the courts will do, in my opinion at least, is act to protect the safety and welfare of the people of Minnesota. They will try to do that in a way that doesn’t amount to taking sides, but take sides they will, if that’s necessary to do the job.

  2. Submitted by Lora Jones on 06/22/2011 - 07:43 pm.

    #1 I agree. Unfortunately, “safety” and “welfare” will necessarily be defined very narrowly. MinnCare, Medicaid and dually eligible Medicare-eligible people will be thrown under the bus, thousands of pregnant women, farmers, small business-people/independent contractors/entrepreneurs, veterans and the elderly, all of them — under the bus. I wonder whether, in the end, it will be their plight that moves our “family values” repugs — or whether (more likely) it will be the less vulnerable people (like me) who are inconvenienced by having to find somewhere for their dogs to wee on their way to the cabin come 4th of July.

  3. Submitted by David Greene on 06/23/2011 - 11:22 am.


    They won’t be thrown under the bus as there won’t be any buses.

Leave a Reply