A Supreme Decision

If the State Supreme Court decides to support Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) in his powers as prescribed in the Minnesota Constitution, they will be acting as strict constructionists. If they side with the legislature they will be acting as judicial activists. The language of the state constitution is clear the Governor can line-item-veto any legislative expenditure.

Additionally, the state legislature impinges itself by sending the governor a budget, with the funding for the legislative branch included. In Washington, DC, the Congress sends the President a Budget Resolution, which he is not able to act upon, but is informed by. If the legislature were to do the same then the House and Senate would be funded as it is spelled out in the state Constitution.

This means the House drafts its resolution and the Senate drafts its own. Then the Governor is not able to take any action against legislative funding. Additionally, the Legislature could be vindictive and not budget any money for the various departments, commissions or boards overseen by the governor. Since the governor doesn’t have the ability to appropriate money then only his salary would be funded.

Of course, the legislature could pass a constitutional amendment and change the appropriations process if it were to pass in a plebiscite, which the governor lacks any role in.

If the Court is concerned about judicial independence they too should petition the legislature for a budget resolution, but then the judiciary would be solely dependent on the legislature for funding.

We will watch this issue closely to see if the judiciary is acting in the state’s interest or in self-preservation mode.

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