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After reading a frightening quote from this article, it’s fair to question whether Gov. Dayton is partially dishonest or mostly dishonest.

The article quotes Gov. Dayton as saying “It is unfortunate that Republican legislative leaders are using this ruling to avoid completing their work.” Apparently, Gov. Dayton’s staff hasn’t made sure that he’s taking his medication. Apparently, Gov. Dayton hasn’t noticed that he signed all of the budget bills. Apparently, Gov. Dayton is pretending that his veto eliminating the Legislative Branch is constitutional even though a judge has said it isn’t.

In his ruling, Judge Guthmann said “The court concludes that the Governor’s vetoes violated the Separation of Powers clause of the Minnesota Constitution because they both nullified a branch of government and refashioned the line-item veto as a tool to secure the repeal or modification of policy legislation unrelated to the vetoed appropriation.”

Judge Guthmann continued, saying “Absent emergency court funding, the effective abolition will exist as long as the Governor decides to veto legislative funding bills submitted to him, which the Governor’s counsel conceded could occur through the remainder of the Governor’s term. The Governor argues that the vetoes abolished or defunded the legislature. However emergency funding is at most a temporary measure to preserve the constitutional rights of the people while the Executive and Legislative Branches resolve their differences. Emergency funding is not a remedy for arguably unconstitutional actions by one branch of government against another.”

Gov. Dayton, is your appeal based on the belief that you stacked the Minnesota Supreme Court with DFL ideologues who will rule with you no matter what? (Actually, I’m fairly confident the Minnesota Supreme Court will get this right because I can’t imagine how they’d argue that the Legislative Branch isn’t an essential part of the government.) If Gov. Dayton’s justices rule that the legislature isn’t essential, they’ll be instant laughingstocks.

Gov. Dayton and Rebecca Otto are both appealing their lawsuits to the Supreme Court. Gov. Dayton is virtually assured of losing while Otto is likely to lose. Side note: Whatever the rulings in the Dayton and Otto lawsuits are, they’re frivolous and extreme wastes of taxpayers’ money. It’s more proof that the DFL doesn’t care about other people’s money.

Wednesday afternoon, Judge John Guthmann ruled that Gov. Dayton’s veto of funding for the legislature was unconstitutional. In his ruling, Judge Guthmann said “The court concludes that the Governor’s vetoes violated the Separation of Powers clause of the Minnesota Constitution because they both nullified a branch of government and refashioned the line-item veto as a tool to secure the repeal or modification of policy legislation unrelated to the vetoed appropriation.”

Judge Guthmann continued, saying “Absent emergency court funding, the effective abolition will exist as long as the Governor decides to veto legislative funding bills submitted to him, which the Governor’s counsel conceded could occur through the remainder of the Governor’s term. The Governor argues that the vetoes abolished or defunded the legislature. However emergency funding is at most a temporary measure to preserve the constitutional rights of the people while the Executive and Legislative Branches resolve their differences. Emergency funding is not a remedy for arguably unconstitutional actions by one branch of government against another.”

Unfortunately, Gov. Dayton immediately announced that he was appealing the ruling within minutes of hearing the ruling:

“Today’s District Court ruling is only a preliminary step in this case’s judicial process. The Stipulation, which the House, Senate, and I filed with the District Court Judge in June, states, ‘The parties agree to jointly seek accelerated review by the Minnesota Supreme Court of the District Court’s order or judgment.’ Accordingly, I have asked Sam Hanson, my legal counsel, to appeal this decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.”

It isn’t required that Gov. Dayton appeal Judge Guthmann’s ruling. Gov. Dayton could simply announce that he isn’t appealing the ruling. Instead, Gov. Dayton has chosen to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a lawsuit he doesn’t have a chance of winning.

Speaker Daudt weighed in:

What’s particularly hurtful to Gov. Dayton was his attorney admitting that this “could occur through the remainder of the Governor’s term.” To be fair, Hanson was put in a difficult, near-impossible situation. That’s what happens when your client is a jackass. Hanson’s argument was weak, though, too:

But Dayton’s attorney says the governor has broad authority to veto appropriations.

I can’t deny that governors have “broad authority to veto appropriations.” That isn’t what Gov. Dayton did in this instance. When he line-item vetoed the legislature’s operating budget, he didn’t just veto an ordinary appropriation. Gov. Dayton also vetoed funding for an entire branch of government. That type of chutzpah can’t be tolerated.

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Hopefully, this will be the final article on the lawsuit between the Legislature and Gov. Dayton that Judge Guthmann will rule on. I’d hate to have to write another post about the SC Times’ dishonest Our View editorial. In that editorial, the Times editors wrote “As you probably recall, Dayton’s unprecedented decision to cut most funds to the Legislature as of Friday ended (or did it?) the 2017 session. He explained his decision as a way to get the Republican-led Legislature to negotiate a handful of measures to which he objected. And most certainly worth noting is that legislation forced Dayton to either accept the Republican tax bill or defund the state Department of Revenue.”

Actually, Gov. Dayton didn’t “cut most funds to the legislature.” As former Attorney Gen. Mike Hatch explained, the funding for the legislature is a single line. It’s a binary choice. It’s all or nothing. Gov. Dayton cut all funds for the legislature. Second, the Times didn’t mention that Gov. Dayton agreed to the tax relief he now wants to renegotiate.

Here’s a message to Gov. Dayton: You agreed to the tax relief. Twice. Now you want to renegotiate the bill you just signed. Instead of using such slippery tactics, try keeping your word instead. Dishonest politicians like you created the Trump administration.

Judge Guthmann ruled that the legislature is part of government’s core function. That means it’ll get funded.

Finally, it’s time to call the SC Times out for making both sides appear culpable for this fiasco. The DFL agreed to these budget deals. If they didn’t like them, they shouldn’t have agreed to them. The GOP tax relief plan provides tax relief to farmers and small businesses. The DFL plan allows government to get bigger and more intrusive.

It isn’t difficult to see which side is on the people’s side and which is on the special interests’ side.

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This article highlights additional parts of Judge Guthmann’s ruling in the Legislature’s lawsuit against Gov. Dayton that don’t sound good for Gov. Dayton.

First, in my post, I highlighted Judge Guthmann’s statement saying that “the public would be irreparably harmed” by being deprived “of a basic constitutional right – a fully functioning Legislative Branch.”

In Judge Guthmann’s injunctive ruling, he wrote “In addition to the parties’ Stipulation that Count I of the Complaint is ripe for decision, the court also finds that the issues presented to the court in Count I of the Complaint are ripe and require a ruling from the court.”

Some Twin Cities pundits have suggested that it’s best that Judge Guthmann order the two sides to sit down and work out their differences. I’ve never agreed with that approach. The constitutional issues are too important. Gov. Dayton’s claims are too reckless. It isn’t possible to reconcile Gov. Dayton’s filings with principles befitting a democracy. If the courts finally rule that Gov. Dayton “has the absolute authority to line-item veto anything for any reason,” it’ll demolish the checks and balances in Minnesota’s constitution.

Judge John Guthmann might’ve given Minnesotans a hint as to how he would eventually rule on the legislature’s lawsuit against Gov. Dayton. Judge Guthmann ordered the “state budget chief to take all steps necessary” to fund the legislature.

In issuing that order, Judge Guthmann said “Absent (temporary) relief, the public would be irreparably harmed through the deprivation of a basic constitutional right —a fully functioning Legislative Branch.” That sounds to me like Judge Guthmann is leaning in the legislature’s direction. Gov. Dayton’s attorneys had argued that the “Governor has explicit and unqualified authority under the Minnesota Constitution to veto any line item of appropriation. The Minnesota Constitution authorizes the Governor’s line-item vetoes, without any qualification as to the Governor’s subjective intent or purpose.”

In his ruling, Judge Guthmann said that “the public would be irreparably harmed” by being deprived “of a basic constitutional right – a fully functioning Legislative Branch.” I said earlier this week that the line-item veto was a tool that might be used to shape budgets. Further, I wrote that doesn’t compare in importance to depriving the people of a basic constitutional right to representation.

This lawsuit shouldn’t have been needed. Gov. Dayton should’ve signed last year’s tax relief package. Vetoing that bill demolished Gov. Dayton’s credibility. That veto led to the GOP legislature to play hardball with Gov. Dayton this year. Thankfully, this was the last budget session Republicans will have to deal with Gov. Dayton.

Frankly, Gov. Dayton’s last day can’t come soon enough.

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To nobody’s surprise, Elizabeth Warren’s statement on President Trump’s pick of Judge Gorsuch was filled with criticism.

Sen. Pocahontas started by saying “President Trump had the chance to select a consensus nominee to the Supreme Court. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, he failed that test. Instead, he carried out his public promise to select a nominee from a list drawn up by far right activist groups that were financed by big business interests.”

That’s rich coming from a 1-percenter who got a $1,300,000 line of credit from Bank of America but didn’t disclose it, thanks to a loophole created for bought-and-paid-for politicians. Then Sen. Pocahontas said “Judge Neil Gorsuch has been on this list for four months. His public record, which I have reviewed in detail, paints a clear picture. Before even joining the bench, he advocated to make it easier for public companies to defraud investors. As a judge, he has twisted himself into a pretzel to make sure the rules favor giant companies over workers and individual Americans. He has sided with employers who deny wages, improperly fire workers, or retaliate against whistleblowers for misconduct. He has ruled against workers in all manner of discrimination cases. And he has demonstrated hostility toward women’s access to basic health care.”

Rather than giving this mean-spirited (and likely dishonest) spin, why doesn’t Sen. Pocahontas cite the specific rulings? Is it because these rulings weren’t really about what Sen. Pocahontas says they’re about? Is it perhaps because she’s twisting Judge Gorsuch’s record because she’s playing to the Democrats’ special interests?

This is especially rich:

Every day, our new President finds more ways to demonstrate his hostility for our independent judiciary, our civil society, and the rule of law. Now more than ever, America needs Supreme Court justices with a proven record of standing up for the rights of all Americans – civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and all other protections guaranteed by our laws. We don’t need another justice who spends his time looking out for those with money and influence.

Sen. Pocahontas doesn’t want an independent judiciary. She wants a judiciary that rules favorably on the Democrats’ agenda. That isn’t independent, just friendly.

If there was ever a doubt about whether Senate Democrats would be obstructionists, this article should shout ‘Democratic obstructionism’. President Trump announced today that he’ll announce his SCOTUS nominee next week sometime. Democrats are feeling bitter that Republicans give Merrick Garland, President Obama’s pick to replace Antonin Scalia, a committee hearing.

It isn’t surprising to hear that “Democrats and their allies remain furious that Senate Republicans refused to even consider Judge Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to the high court, with 10 months remaining in Mr. Obama’s second term. That deep resentment is certain to color their handling of Mr. Trump’s choice just as it has contributed to their resistance to moving quickly on Mr. Trump’s cabinet selections.”

I respectfully disagree with that last statement. Democrats aren’t just upset with the fact that Republicans didn’t hold a hearing on Judge Garland. They’re also upset that Hillary lost. They’re upset that they didn’t retake the majority in the Senate, too. They’re upset that their coalition was demolished by ‘blue collar billionaire’ Donald Trump.

That’s their fault. Democrats hitched their wagon to Obama’s and Mrs. Clinton’s stars. The DNC leadership team was corrupt to the point that they, not voters, picked Hillary Clinton to be their presidential nominee. Mrs. Clinton ran the worst campaign in the last half-century.

All indications are that they see the forthcoming nomination as a chance to take a strong stand against the new president, since they still have the power to filibuster a Supreme Court choice — at least for now.

Democrats now think that resisting the newly-sworn-in president is their path back to power. What they’re really doing is paving the way for his re-election.

People won’t agree with Senate Republicans not granting Garland a hearing but they definitely won’t agree with Democrats acting like spoiled brats, either. That’s what the Democrats’ ‘resistance’ looks like to apolitical people.

Top Democrats say they don’t intend to play “tit for tat” with the nomination. But they say they will insist on what they consider to be a mainstream candidate capable of securing at least the 60 votes needed to thwart any filibuster. Otherwise, they promise to do whatever they can to block the nominee.

The Democrats are being stupid. If President Trump nominates Judge Gorsuch, he’ll be nominating a solid judge whose opinions are well-written. Do Democrats really want to put up a big fight against an articulate judge? It’s their option but I wouldn’t advise them to do that. That’s wasting tons of political capital on a lost cause. If Democrats filibuster President Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, they’ll put the Supreme Court off-limits for a generation. This is the face of Democratic senators:

This is rich:

“We are not going to do what the Republicans did,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, “but if the candidate’s out of the mainstream, I can tell you I will fight and my caucus will fight tooth and nail against them.”

That’s coming from the liar who sabotaged Mike Pompeo’s confirmation vote.

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After reading this Washington Times article, there’s little doubt in my mind that President Obama will appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

First, the article says “Mr. Obama’s moment will come just before noon, in the five minutes that the Senate gavels the 114th Congress out of session and the time the 115th Congress begins. In those few moments the Senate will go into what’s known as an ‘intersession recess,’ creating one golden moment when the president could test his recess-appointment powers by sending Judge Garland to the high court.” It continues by saying “The move would be a legal gamble under the high court’s last ruling in 2014 on recess appointments. That 9-0 decision overturned a handful of Mr. Obama’s early 2012 picks, saying the Senate was actually in session when the president acted, so he couldn’t use his powers. That ruling also said, however, that there’s a difference between appointments made during the annual yearlong session of Congress, dubbed ‘intrasession,’ which Mr. Obama used in 2012, and picks made at the end of the year, after Congress adjourns, which are known as ‘intersession.'”

This statement is downright foolish considering who we’re talking about:

William G. Ross, a law professor at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, said Mr. Obama would have the power to elevate Judge Garland. But he said it would be “politically unwise and damaging to the prestige of the court. It would exacerbate acute political tensions that have roiled the transition process and promise turbulence from the very start of the Trump administration, and it would contribute to the growing public perception that the court is unduly political,” Mr. Ross said.

Anyone that thinks President Obama worries about doing controversial things is kidding themselves. He thrives on those things. That’s why I’m certain he’ll appoint Garland.

The political downside for Democrats is that they’d be required to defend that indefensible decision. Republicans would use that against them in 2018, which is already shaping up to be a bloodbath for Democratic senators. That, however, isn’t a big deal to President Obama. What does he care? He’s already decimated the Democratic Party during his time in office:

Since President Obama took office, there are 12 fewer Democratic governors, 63 fewer Democrats in the US House of Representatives, 12 fewer Democrats in the US Senate and almost 1,000 fewer Democrat state legislators.

Why would President Obama care if Republicans picked up another dozen Senate seats after he’s out of office?

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Rachel Stassen-Berger’s article highlights two frightening facts. First, it highlights the fact that Gov. Dayton doesn’t take his oath of office seriously.

In his oath of office, governors swear to protect the state and federal constitution. When asked “Thursday if he believes he signed an unconstitutional law, Dayton said, ‘It’s fine with me if they (the Supreme Court Justices) decide that.'” In other words, Gov. Dayton doesn’t have a problem if the Minnesota Supreme Court rules that he signed a bill that’s unconstitutional.

That’s actually the least frightening thing from the article. The most frightening quote from the article was Ms. Otto’s statement that “This office belongs to the taxpayers and not to the Legislature. Auditing counties is a core constitutional duty of the office. I will not let this go. I must do everything I can to preserve this function on behalf of the people of Minnesota.”

Actually, Ms. Otto’s statement is frightening on multiple levels but mostly because of this part of Minnesota’s Constitution:

What part of the “duties and salaries of the executive officers shall be prescribed by law” doesn’t Ms. Otto understand? Are we to believe that the duties of the State Auditor are defined by state law but that the duties of those that work for the State Auditor are defined by the Minnesota State Constitution? If the Constitution defines the auditors’ responsibilities, which article and which section are those duties found in?

Simply put, Minnesota’s Constitution established the Office of State Auditor, aka the OSA. That’s indisputable. It’s equally indisputable that the duties and authorities of the OSA aren’t spelled out in the Constitution. That’s because they’re assigned by the legislature and approved by the governor. That’s what happened in 2015.

If the Minnesota Supreme Court rules that the 2015 law is unconstitutional, the justices that ruled it unconstitutional should be impeached and replaced with jurists that are faithful to the Constitution, not to the DFL. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Let’s hope that this is so straightforward that it’s a unanimous ruling against Ms. Otto. Otherwise, the Minnesota Supreme Court would essentially rule in the DFL’s favor the vast majority of the time.

That isn’t justice. That’s hardball politics.

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Thus far, people have tiptoed around what the judge ruled last Friday in the lawsuit brought by Rebecca Otto. Ms. Otto is quoted as saying “In the decision, the court granted our motion in part and denied it in part,” Otto said. “As we requested, the court recognized the core constitutional function of the Office of the State Auditor to audit counties. The court also held that the Office of the State Auditor may ‘continue to exercise its constitutional authority to audit counties to pay for such audits.’ We are reviewing the opinion and analyzing our options.”

It would’ve been surprising if the court had ruled that the OSA didn’t have the authority to be the state’s main auditor. This isn’t surprising. That’s as surprising as the judiciary finding that the Secretary of State had the authority to monitor elections. Later, Ms. Otto said this:

“Unfortunately, the district court also permitted counties to hire private CPA firms at their discretion to conduct an “initial audit.” We respectfully disagree with this aspect of the district court’s decision. It will result in an unacceptable diminishment of the protection this constitutional office provides on behalf of the taxpayers of this state.”

The OSA already has given some counties the authority to hire CPA firms to do their audits. With that being the case, Ms. Otto’s intellectual fight is flimsy. She’s essentially arguing that she has the authority to give counties the right to hire CPA firms to perform their audit but that the legislature doesn’t have that authority.

Further complicating matters is that Ms. Otto is essentially arguing that the statutes that have assigned specific responsibilities to the OSA and other statutes assigning specific responsibilities to other constitutional offices are constitutional but that this statute, and this statute alone, is unconstitutional.

If the Minnesota Supreme Court rules in Ms. Otto’s favor, then we’ll have verifiable proof that Gov. Dayton stacked that court with judges that will rule in the DFL’s favor no matter what the Constitution says. Let’s hope that these justices aren’t partisans first and jurists second. Here’s hoping that they’re jurists first, last and only.

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