In unallotment suit, Pawlenty gets help from law school profs
February 9, 2010 — 10:45am
A team of three law school professors will file a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday in the Minnesota Supreme Court lawsuit against Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s use of his unallotment authority.
The amicus brief will challenge Ramsey County District Court Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin’s ruling that Pawlenty’s use of unallotment violated the constitutional separation of powers, said Ryan Scott, associate professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
The professors, who are constitutional law experts, do not weigh in on another key aspect of the lawsuit: whether Pawlenty used the authority correctly when he made $2.7 billion in unilateral cuts at the beginning of the two-year budget period.
Six people on a small special-diet program that was cut filed a lawsuit saying the governor overstepped his authority in how he made the trims.
Gearin agreed and ordered the money restored. But the ruling threatened to unravel all of Pawlenty’s unilateral cuts, including millions of dollars in aid to cities. Minneapolis and St. Paul officials are filing similar briefs supporting the judge's ruling.
Pawlenty appealed and the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Pawlenty’s attorneys have until the end of Tuesday to file their brief making their best argument.
Oral arguments are scheduled for March 15.
The other professors filing the brief are David Stras from the University of Minnesota Law School and Michael Stokes Paulsen from the University of St. Thomas Law School.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis has endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential race, making him just the second member of Congress to back the underdog Hillary Clinton challenger.