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Supremes dismiss constitutional challenge, for now

Supremes dismiss constitutional challenge, for now
By Eric Black

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.

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The Supreme Court dismissal order is here.