Occasional Minnesota Governor and full-time 2012 Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty had to take care of some state business today. He appointed two people to the MN Supreme Court including a new Chief Justice. He appointed Lorie Gildea as Chief Justice and added David Stras to the court as well.
Gildea is a far right, ideological conservative just like Pawlenty. In fact, her husband, Andy, is on the Republican House Caucus staff. U of M professor Stras is also a far right idealogue. He wrote a friend of the court brief in support of Pawlenty’s unallotment.
As an aside, it’s going to be interesting to have Gildea going to the legislature to beg for money for our state’s judicial system. Especially ironic considering ideological conservatives believe that government is the problem and are looking at ways to slash the size of it. Gildea gets the job because the outgoing Chief Justice, Eric Magnuson, was probably sick of how underfunded our state’s system is. At least, Magnuson complained about it incessantly and I surmise it really made him frustrated that he couldn’t do anything about it.
Possible Pawlenty unallotment gambit?
These two appointments mean that the justices are now for unallotment by a 4-3 margin. Pawlenty’s unallotment was ruled unconstitutional by a 4-3 margin. Is there a chance that Pawlenty will unallot? Is he banking that a new court will side with him?
Relax. The chances are slim, the precedent has been set.
Our legal system is based upon the concept of legal precedent. The law of the land is that unallotment, Pawlenty-style, is illegal. The attorney’s I’ve spoken to think that there is a very slim chance Pawlenty would try to unallot and push the court to rule in his favor.
The question is … would Pawlenty have the gall to try a gambit such as this?