Unallotment ruling coverage

Our scheduled topic was preempted this week as TruthToTell beat all other local media to the punch talking about the Minnesota State Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision nullifying Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s attempt to cut state spending using unallotment. The majority (Chief Justice Eric Magnuson with Justices Alan Page, Paul Anderson and Helen Meyer; dissenting were Justices G. Barry Anderson, Lorie Skjerven Gildea, and Christopher Dietzen) upheld the Ramsey County District Court in ruling that Pawlenty had, indeed, exceeded his authority in unalloting funds for programs he otherwise approved in the original budget, thus circumventing the Constitutionally guaranteed legislative budgeting process. [Supreme Court UPDATE: SInce this program aired, Gov. Pawlenty has chosen Lorie Skjerven Gildea as the next Chief Justice to succeed the retiring Eric Magnuson. Gildea, one of the dissenters in the above ruling, and her two dissenting colleagues were the only candidates under consideration for the new appointment. Pawlenty also appointed University of MN law professor, David Stras, about whom, Rep. Ryan Winkler wrote: “Pawlenty’s appointment of Mr. Stras is even worse (than that of Gildea). Continue Reading

As the door revolves: Insider politics dictate policy/ Citizens United: Corporate campaigning

The cozy conclave of legislators and the insider baseball played by regulators with those they regulate have become the engine driving too much of our state, local and federal policies and public largesse. Nothing is so effective for corporations and trade associations as hiring a former Congressman, state legislator or government official to walk right back into the hallowed halls where they once served and lobby their former colleagues for special consideration for their companies and clients. (Podcast below)Consumer and public interest advocates have tried for decades to remove this cushy perk from the balance scales of public service. Why should a regulator actually regulate if that regulator can simply bide his or her time before retiring and take all that insider knowledge and all those relationships to a lucrative private job or contract with the very polluters or health hazards or gambling operations they were supposed to be monitoring and corralling into compliance?A bill that would prohibit this rotation within two years of leaving an elected office or government job is again under consideration this legislative session. We’ll talk about its chances and about examples of how imbalanced the system becomes when the public interest is subverted by such inside games. Continue Reading

And then there were two? Recusals in Coleman case could whittle state high court below quorum

Pinch hitters could be called up to help the Minnesota Supreme Court handle Norm Coleman’s election-contest appeal if more justices recuse themselves. Two of the seven high-court justices have already said they won’t deliberate on the case. That’s because Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and Associate Justice G. Barry Anderson served on the State Canvassing Board that oversaw the statewide recount between former Sen. Coleman and his Democratic challenger, Al Franken. Now Continue Reading

U.S. Senate recount: What’s next?

Al Franken won the U.S. Senate contest by 225 votes. That was the determination that the five-member State Canvassing Board put their signatures to on Monday. Franken duly declared victory, pronouncing himself the “next senator from Minnesota.”

But as subsequent events have made abundantly clear that doesn’t mean the never-ending Senate contest is over. Indeed the legal contest filed by Norm Coleman’s campaign on Tuesday means it could still drag on for months. Here’s a quick primer on what will unfold in the coming weeks. Continue Reading

Supreme court race to the finish

In a race that has recently heated up, Supreme Court Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea and Fourth District Court Judge Deborah Hedlund are battling for the Associate Justice seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court held by Gildea since her appointment by Governor Tim Pawlenty in January 2006. Hedlund has been a trial judge in Minneapolis since 1980. Hedlund, Muslims and controversyHedlund made the news recently over an e-mail that expressed anti-Muslim sentiments. She says she did not read all of the e-mail, which was sent to her and others from a campaign-sign vendor. According to Hedlund, she clicked onto the e-mail and started talking about sign price negotiations, and then mistakenly hit “reply all.” Some readers thought Hedlund’s reply to the sign vendor was an agreement about the anti-Muslim statements. Continue Reading

To Koryne Horbal . . .

and other “feminists” who say they’ll reject Barack Obama and write-in Hillary Clinton as their presidential preference:
“McCain promised that, if elected, he would follow President Bush’s model in choosing Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.
“That could establish a large conservative majority on the court for years. With conservatives in full control, the court would probably overturn Roe vs. Wade and the national right to have an abortion.”*
During their campaign for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton and many of her “feminist” supporters had no qualms about playing the “gender card,” the “race card,” the “assassination card” and finally the “petition card” to defile and defeat Barack Obama. Will she now allow her supporters to continue playing them, or will she truly back her party’s nominee?**
*”John McCain and Barack Obama: Two visions of the Supreme Court” www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-scotus19-2008may19,0,5298248.story
**”Feminist leader says no to Obama”www.startribune.com/templates/Print_This_Story?sid=19416774 Continue Reading