What lawyer was it said that they thought these type of cases werent argued anymore?That is pretty much like saying the U.S. Constitution isnt valid anymore. When the laws are on "our side" we have to fight to get those laws enforced, or they will be lost. Another of my dear ole moms favorite sayings, "Use it or you lose it." I guess this can be said for our rights also.
Pawlenty will appeal judge's ruling on unallotment
Judge Kathleen Gearin "has inserted herself into a political dispute," Pawlenty said.
By BAIRD HELGESON, Star Tribune
Last update: December 31, 2009 - 1:12 PM
Saying a judge overreached and misinterpreted the law, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Thursday he will appeal a ruling that challenged his unilateral budget cuts imposed this summer.
"The judge has inserted herself into a political dispute," Pawlenty said at a news conference.
"That degree of involvement by the court is concerning, to say the least," he said. "We believe the judge misapplied and misinterpreted the statute in significant ways."
It's was Pawlenty's first detailed response to a judge's ruling Wednesday that said the governor the "trod upon the constitutional power of the Legislature" when he unilaterally cut $2.7 billion from the budget last summer using a procedure called unallotment.
Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin said that unallotment is constitutional but that Pawlenty misused it by making unilateral cuts after the legislature had adjourned.
"If we can't use unallotment now, I don't know when we could," Pawlenty said, noting that state is in the worst financial crisis since World War II. "I believe she misinterpreted that."
Since the appeal process could be lengthy, the Republican governor said he will work with DFL lawmakers to resolve the immediate financial dilemma when the Legislature convenes Feb. 4.
Most of the cut doesn't kick in until the 2011 fiscal year, leaving time for the two sides the reach an agreement, Pawlenty said.
But the governor raised the possibility of more unilateral cuts if no agreement can be reached, saying he might use the newly projected $1.2 billion deficit as justification.
In the ruling, Gearin said: "The authority of the governor to unallot is an authority intended to save the state in times of a previously unforeseen budget crisis. It is not meant to be used as a weapon by the executive branch to break a stalemate in budget negotiations with the Legislature or to rewrite the appropriations bill."
The judge issued a temporary restraining order reinstating money for a small nutrition program for the poor that Pawlenty cut from the budget. Several people in the program filed a lawsuit and wanted the judge to restore the money while their case proceeds.
"We believe Judge Gearin's opinion is well reasoned and correct," said Galen Robinson, an attorney for the people who filed suit. "If there is an appeal, we assume the decision will be upheld."
While Gearin's ruling deals only with the food program, the decision opens the door for other agencies or groups to file suit to get their money restored, potentially unraveling at least part of the governor's emergency cuts.