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GOP’s Supreme Court victories come with stinging dissents

It’s a victory for the GOP’s Voter ID and gay marriage referendums, but the majority rulings came with some stinging dissents. At the Strib, Jim Ragsdale reports: “The Minnesota Supreme Court gave the Republican-controlled Legislature a pair of important election-year victories on Monday, ruling that proposed constitutional amendments on photo ID and same-sex marriage will go to voters in words chosen by their supporters in the Legislature. In a pair of 4-2 decisions, the court deferred to the Legislature in selecting the bold-face titles and the ballot question voters will see this November. It means the both issues will remain on the ballot and be presented to voters the way legislators wanted — not in the manner favored by DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. ‘It’s a real victory for the constitution, separation of powers and upholding the authority of the Legislature,’ said Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, author of the photo ID amendment. … In a stinging dissent, Justice Alan Page called the ballot question ‘a classic case of bait and switch,’ writing that ‘It is ironic, if not Orwellian, that in the name of ‘protecting’ the voter and preventing unspecified voting ‘fraud,’ the Legislature has resorted to a ballot question that deliberately deceives and misleads the very voters it claims must be protected.’ “

Over at the PiPress, Doug Belden writes: “In a 65-page dissent, [Justice Paul] Anderson called the question ‘inaccurate, misleading and deceptive’ and said it deprives Minnesotans of their constitutional right to knowingly consent to a constitutional amendment that will, if approved, ‘alter, modify or reform’ their government’. … On the title issue, Page said the majority opinion leaves no check on the Legislature’s ability to label questions any way it wants. ‘Under the court’s view a majority of the Legislature could propose a constitutional amendment to, say, reinstate prohibition, propose the ballot title ‘Eliminating the Personal Income Tax,’ the Secretary of State would be obliged to put the Legislature’s title on the ballot, and under the standard the court announces today, this court could do nothing to prevent it,’ Page wrote.” Don’t give them any ideas, Your Honor.

Speaking of … a couple of days back, Josh Moniz at The New Ulm Journal covered Ms. Kiffmeyer at an event. He writes: “Kiffmeyer argued that the amendment is essential to maintain the validity of final election results in the state. She was unable to source her numbers during the interview, but Kiffmeyer argued that Minnesota had the highest amount of voter fraud convictions in the country, saying there were approximately 113 voter fraud convictions resulting from the 2008 elections. She also cited that approximately 500,000 of Minnesota’s over 3 million registered voters were same-day registration voters in 2008. She said 6,224 remain unreachable and unaccounted for with problems like invalid addresses. There is no method to determine whether any of those voters were fraudulent or whether they were simply not followed up on. Kiffmeyer [said] that the simple possibility that voter fraud could exist in those number causes her serious concern. ‘It’s incredible to me, the number of people that have the expectation that they can just come in without anything and vote’, said Kiffmeyer. … She said that when she saw U.S Attorney-General Eric Holder challenging Voter ID laws in other states for conflict with respective state constitutions, she decided that a constitutional amendment was the best way to guarantee the law would not be struck down.” Well, that and the call from the ALEC.

The Glean The Twins appear set to host the 2014 All-Star game. Laura Yuen at MPR (acknowledging that Charley “Shooter” Walters at the PiPress was saying as much earlier) says: “Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is expected in Minneapolis Wednesday to announce that the Minnesota Twins will indeed host the All-Star Game in 2014. A league spokesman in New York declined to confirm or deny Selig’s travel schedule, but he confirmed that the game’s location will be named Wednesday. Three Twin Cities sources with knowledge of the deal confirmed Selig’s visit, capping weeks of speculation that the two-year-old Target Field would likely win its high-profile bid. Minneapolis hasn’t hosted the game since 1985.”

Need a (very nice) new car? David Phelps of the Strib says: “A unit of Pohlad Companies, the business conglomerate that includes the Minnesota Twins, J.B. Hudson Jewelers and United Properties, Monday upped its stake in the Twin Cities luxury automobile market with the acquisition of Audi, Porsche and Mercedes dealerships. Pohlad’s Twin Cities Automotive (TCA) announced the purchase of Carousel Audi and Porsche in Golden Valley, and Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche in Maplewood. All four dealerships are owned by LeJeune Investment Corp. Terms were not disclosed. The deal, which requires manufacturer approval, nearly doubles the number of Pohlad-owned dealerships from five to nine in Minnesota and will likely increase sales volume by 40 percent to 50 percent, said Brad Braun, TCA’s chief financial officer.”

100 degrees? Again? When will it be January? Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib says: “Another excessive heat watch is being issued for Thursday when air temperatures are expected to flirt with the 100-degree mark by the afternoon in parts of Ramsey and Hennepin counties, according to a National Weather Service. ‘It will start feeling really hot in the metro and most of Minnesota on Wednesday,’ said National Weather Service forecaster Lisa Schmit. ‘Temperatures should be in the low to mid-90s that day.’
And by Thursday, temperatures could hit 99 to 100 degrees, she said.”

MPR’s Bill Catlin tries to divine what Best Buy’s stock price means: “[T]he stock price speaks volumes about what investors think. When [former CEO Richard] Schulze revealed his proposal — it wasn’t detailed enough to call it a bona fide ‘offer’ — the share price jumped, but landed well short of the proposed minimum of $24 a share. The stock closed that day, August 6, at $19.99. The gap between the proposal and the closing price was at least $4.01. Compare that to another large recent buyout in the news. A week ago, the big health insurer, Aetna, announced an agreement to buy Coventry Health Care, a managed care company. The offer was valued at $42.08 per share. That day Coventry’s share price closed at $42.04 — a gap of just four cents. … In the case of Best Buy investors were showing considerable doubt that if they bought a share at, say $22, that Dick Schulze would pay at least $24 for that same share. The day 1 close at $19.99 suggests they were more comfortable betting that they might get around $20 for that share. You can calculate how skeptical investors are and attach a number to it, and that’s where the depth of doubt about Dick Schulze’s plans becomes apparent.”

The abrupt dismissal of well-liked Jane Minton as head of the Independent Feature Project, a local filmmakers organization, has set tongues a-wagging. Now her official explanation is out in public. Marianne Combs puts it up at MPR. Says Minton: “[I]t was clear to me that the Executive Committee wasn’t looking for solutions. It was looking for a scapegoat. It now appears that board/staff protocols may have been violated, and that a plan to oust me had been afoot for months, surfacing June 27th with that meeting called by the Executive Committee. This is not unusual. It happens in not-for-profits: a board member joins an organization out of enthusiasm and a few years down the road believes he or she could run it better. … The manner in which I was treated was heartless, cold, mean, and calculating. I know well that all businesses, nonprofits included, need to be run like businesses. But the reason some of us spend our careers working with nonprofits is HEART. What you don’t make in salary, you gain in a common mission and collegiality. This has been missing in my recent situation.” Twenty-five years would seem to have earned a better ending.

At the lefty blog (duh) leftmn, Steve Timmer has his fun with the radio duo/blogging of Tom Emmer and Bob Davis. Says Timmer: “ The duo [say]:

To date, the Republican Senate Caucus has refused to accede to the former staffer’s demands.  Now the media seems intent on reporting how much the legal dispute has cost rather than suggesting that perhaps the former staffer is blowing smoke in an effort to leverage a large settlement.  Outside of the courtroom this would be called “extortion” or “blackmail.”  [or maybe defamation]  So long as it is in the courtroom, I guess our news media assumes it is about justice.

In other words, the media should speculate about whether Brodkorb has the goods and traffic in innuendo rather than reporting factual matters such as how much the state is paying to defend against the allegations of the actions of the Senate Republican caucus. No, Bob and Tom, my friends, speculative suggesting and trafficking in innuendo is your job! If the media did it, even fewer people would listen to your show. Davis and Emmer do do (to quote Madeline Kahn) innuendo quite well:

Is it possible that the Senate Republican Caucus has hired an attorney to defend against these claims because the claims are entirely without merit?  Is it possible that the former staffer has nothing?  Is it possible that all he has is the threat of a story that might appeal to the public’s prurient interest?  Is it possible that he is manipulating his longstanding relationships (after all, he was in charge of Communications for the Senate Republicans) with reporters and certain seedy bloggers who are unwittingly spreading hollow innuendo?

Is it possible that morning talk radio has dumber pair of hosts?”

You don’t want to know the answer to THAT question.

Comments (20)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/28/2012 - 07:28 am.

    It Appears that Giving Tim Pawlenty Two Terms

    In which to appoint Supreme Court Justices has quietly done to the integrity of the system by which our state constitution can be amended what Carol Molnau’s tenure as Transportation Commissioner did for the integrity of the 35W bridge.

    Meanwhile, Ms. Kiffmeyer proves, once again, that she, like so many “conservatives” feels completely justified in stating as established fact those things she believes certainly MUST be true.

    Just a clue, Ms. Kiffmeyer: just because you really, really, really WANT something to be true (because if it’s not, you might be wrong about many other things as well), doesn’t mean it IS true.

    By stating such things as established fact (even when speaking to friendly audiences) when the established facts are the opposite of your assertions, you clearly, unequivocally identify yourself as a bald faced liar.

    Just because it’s easy to find an audience that wants you to lie to them doesn’t make your lies true or you any less immoral or reprehensible for telling that audience the lies they want to hear.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/28/2012 - 08:38 am.

    Some people

    …are upset about Alan Page’s leftist diatribe, but it doesn’t bother me. Soros paid a bundle to have his way in Minnesota, and everyone deserves their money’s worth.

    Besides, the very best answer we can give pro-fraud activists is the quiet scratching of pencils filling in “yes” on ballots.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/28/2012 - 10:20 am.

      Ah… the “Soros” Bomb

      The last refuge of a “conservative” with nothing factual or even interesting to contribute to a discussion.

      Of course if you were to speak of Adelson’s or the Koch Brother’s well-documented attempts to buy the current election, you might have something worthwhile (or at least accurate) to say.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/28/2012 - 10:42 am.

        Wonderfully chosen metaphor Greg!

        Soros did indeed “bomb” this time!

      • Submitted by Arito Moerair on 08/28/2012 - 01:28 pm.

        Like I said before

        When Soros unloads cash, it’s evil, it’s unconstitutional, it kills puppies, it’s plain wrong in every conceivable way, and probably in many ways that are inconceivable. In short, George Soros hates freedom.

        When the Sheldon Adelson or the Koch Brothers do it, it’s simply patriotic, freedom-loving, and pro-America.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/28/2012 - 02:06 pm.

          Perhaps you didn’t read the post, Arito

          I said “Soros paid a bundle to have his way in Minnesota, and everyone deserves their money’s worth.”

          Now you’re right; Soros & his ilk *do* hate America, at least the America we know, but thanks to “Citizens United” he still has the right to throw his money away in any manner he wishes…

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/28/2012 - 09:05 am.

    Kiffmeyer’s sky is falling

    Kiffmeyer, nothing proven, only fear mongering in the republican tradition. Several months ago, the republican’s leader, Rush Limbaugh instructed the republicans to keep the “fear and anger” going. So Kiffmeyer has stepped right in line with her leader. Nothing proven, but she and her “fiscal conservative” republican cohorts want to set up a system they call “free” that will cost millions to institute and run. More proof the term, the republican’s have given them selves, Fiscal Conservative has zero meaning. It is right in line with the national disenfranchisement campaign the republicans are orchestrating nation wide. This November the title of the Voter ID Amendment on the ballot should be titled “Don’t Vote For This Amendment”. The Minnesota Constitution is there to serve all Minnesotan’s not just the republicans. Voters the choice is yours in November.

  4. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 08/28/2012 - 09:56 am.

    Typical Emmer

    Does Emmer not realize if Brodjorb “had no case” it would have alreay been thrown out? Wow, apparently Emmer’s as good an attorney as he was a politician.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/28/2012 - 12:32 pm.

      With all due respect

      even Emmer can have a point. As for your’s, lawsuits aren’t self-extinguishing. A court doesn’t act until asked to do so and, to date, no one has asked the court to toss Brodkorb’s suit. If and when that happens, there are only two ways the court can dismiss his claims: if it finds that, under the facts as he alleges them, there is no legal basis for the claim or, that a legal basis for the claim exists but there is no admissible evidence to support the claim. Neither is likely, based on press reports of Brodkorb’s claims. Assuming that to be the case, then the Senate has two options: settle or litigate.

  5. Submitted by Paul Gustafson on 08/28/2012 - 11:30 am.

    Odd way to decide important cases

    The Minnesota Supreme Court decisions in these cases say they were decided “Per Curiam” – which means “For the Court.”

    Not so with these highly politically loaded decisions.

    Here, we have two pointed dissents from Justices Paul Anderson and Alan Page. The writer or writers for the court majority were equally vociferous. This is the furthest thing from a united court.

    Yet, the majority hides the authors of these two decisions under the “Per Curiam” clock of unanimity.


    Could it be the majority author(s) are up for reelection, and do not want the voters to know who they are? How ironic is that?

    Some judges hate to acknowledge that they are elected officials.

    It’s important for democracy and for the court system that Minnesota Supreme Court justices, especially in high profile cases involving bed-rock issues of how our government works, tell us where they stand by signing their names to such decisions.

    When they don’t, they cheat the voters and do damage to the court system.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/28/2012 - 12:37 pm.



      Latin for “by the court.” An opinion from an appellate court that does not identify any specific judge who may have written the opinion.

      Although simply by being a member of a per curiam majority, justices endorse both the result and the reasoning.



      A “per curiam” decision is a decision delivered via an opinion issued in the name of the Court rather than specific judges. Most decisions on the merits by the Supreme Court (and other appellate courts in the U.S.) take the form of one or more opinions signed by individual justices (and joined in by others). Even when such signed opinions are unanimous, they are not termed “per curiam.” “Per curiam” decisions are given that label by the Court itself and tend to be short. Usually, though not always, they deal with issues the Court views as relatively non-controversial.

      For examples, see, e.g., Wood v. Bartholomew, 516 U.S. 1 (1995) and Kimberlin v. Quinlin, 515 U.S. 321(1995). However, they are not necessarily unanimous. Indeed, some per curiam decisions are accompanied by dissenting opinions. See, e.g., Bush v. Gore, 531 US 98 (2000).

      The top appellate courts of most states (including, e.g., Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina) use the same terminology.

    • Submitted by Amy Bergquist on 08/28/2012 - 05:06 pm.

      Per curiam

      Or perhaps the author hopes that there is a (federal) judicial confirmation hearing in his or her future, and wants to use the “per curiam” to dodge some rigorous grilling on a weakly reasoned opinion.

  6. Submitted by John Edwards on 08/28/2012 - 11:39 am.

    Typical liberal double standard?

    The people who comment on MinnPost must now refer to “Democratic” candidates. No longer can they drop off the “ic” lest they offend some apparently very sensitive Democrats. But as Mr. Christensen’s comment demonstrates it is okay to lower case republicans. Also, I thought MinnPost was going to inject some civility into the comment section. Unfortunately, as Mr. Cage’s comment obviously indicates, Republican staffer Michael Brodkorb’s name is still not subject to that civility.

  7. Submitted by Mark Stromseth on 08/28/2012 - 02:40 pm.

    The Ultimate Truth

    It is impossible for a Republican to learn what they thinks they already know. — Epictetus

  8. Submitted by Virginia Martin on 08/28/2012 - 03:54 pm.


    I thought we used Democratic because that’s the actual name of the Democratic Party. It has nothing to do with sensitivity.
    If you consider Mr. Cage’s comments uncivil, you haven’t been reading this–or other–blogs very long. He didn’t swear, call people names, or try in any way to diminish the status or integrity of the opposition.

  9. Submitted by Virginia Martin on 08/28/2012 - 04:57 pm.

    a democratic outcome?

    There’s nothing just or democratic about half of a legislature passing a bill and the other half opposing it because they can, because it’s a workaround of the legislative process. There’s nothing democratic of Minnesota judges, appointed by a Republican with little apparent understanding of democracy who always sit on the right side of god, approving an amendment like this.
    there is no democracy involved, no matter how many Americans or Minnesotans think it’s a good idea, if it restricts people’s right to vote.
    Majority rule is not necessarily intelligent or constitutional rule.
    Alan Page is right.

  10. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/29/2012 - 12:30 pm.

    Very observant, Ginny

    “There’s nothing just or democratic about half of a legislature passing a bill and the other half opposing it because they can.”

    Some recent examples: The 2011 budget; tenure reform (favored by a solid majority of the people of Minnesota); marriage protection; election integrity (favored by 80% of the people of Minnesota).

    If those darned Democrats would just listen, right?

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