MN Supreme Court Fast Tracks Dayton Veto Power Case

By: Michael McIntee, UpTake Journalist

Governor Mark Dayton and Republican leaders in the legislature agree on at least two things. They both want Minnesota’s Supreme Court to move quickly on a lower court ruling that limits Dayton’s line-item veto power, and they’d like the balance of power issues over budgets settled.

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea agreed Wednesday to expedite the case, setting oral arguments for Monday August 28 at 9 a.m.

Dayton’s lawyer will have until this Friday to file briefs and the legislature’s lawyers Douglas Kelley and David Herr will have until August 15 to file their brief. Dayton’s lawyer Sam Hanson would then file a reply by August 21.

“Many of these same legal issues arose during the budget showdowns in 2001, 2005, and 2011, and will likely continue to recur without the Court’s intervention,” wrote lawyers for Dayton, the House and the Senate in a petition filed Tuesday.

Minnesota’s House and Senate are controlled by a Republican majority. Dayton is a Democrat. The two sides clashed over a number of issues this legislative session including what Dayton called “fiscally irresponsible tax cuts”. Dayton signed several bills he disagreed with but line-item vetoed funding for the legislature as a way of forcing Republicans to renegotiate those bills he already signed.

Earlier this month a Ramsey County District Court judge ruled that Dayton’s line-item veto of all funding for the operation of the legislature was unconstitutional because the governor was using it as a way to coerce lawmakers into negotiations over a tax bill and other issues.

Ramsey County Judge John Guthmann made his ruling very narrow saying it only applied to a case where the governor tried to defund the legislature over disagreements on issues not related to how the legislature was spending its own budget. Both Dayton and the legislature apparently want the Supreme Court to make a broader ruling.

“The Court’s decision will delineate the balance of power between all three branches of government, and harmonize and clarify seemingly competing provisions of the Minnesota Constitution”, wrote lawyers for both sides in the case. “Resolution of these issues will impact all Minnesotans. The parties agree that resolution is not possible without the Court’s review of the issues raised by the parties.”

“This case is of special, constitutional importance. Its resolution is time-sensitive to the continued operation of state government,” says the motion from Hanson, Kelley and Herr.

Court documents
MN Supreme Court order for expedited hearing

MN Supreme Court order for oral arguments in Legislature v Gov. Dayton Case by mcint011 on Scribd

Petition from lawyers for Governor Dayton and Minnesota House and Senate:

Motion – Expedite by mcint011 on Scribd

Motion with proposed schedule

Petition – Accelerated Review by mcint011 on Scribd

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