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D.J. Tice

Commentary editor and columnist | Opinion
Phone: 612-673-4456

D.J. Tice is commentary editor and an opinion columnist for the Star Tribune, based in Minneapolis. He previously served seven years as political news editor. He has written extensively about Minnesota and American politics and history, economics and legal affairs.


Tice writes a weekly column and is a regular contributor to the Playing Politics podcast. He has been a writer, editor and publisher in Twin Cities journalism for nearly four decades. Tice was previously an editor at Corporate Report Minnesota and Twin Cities magazines, editor and publisher at the Twin Cities Reader, and an editorial writer and columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. From 2003-2009, he was the Star Tribune's state political editor, directing coverage of the Legislature, state government, the Minnesota congressional delegation, and elections. He is the author of two books of popular history. His collection of ordinary Minnesotans' memories, Minnesota's Twentieth Century, published by the University of Minnesota Press, was awarded the Minnesota Book Award for history in 2000.
Recent content from D.J. Tice
Ken Burns’ documentary “Hemingway,” on the life of author Ernest Hemingway, airs this week on PBS. Above, Hemingway writes on his typewriter at

'Hemingway' faces hard facts

So did its subject.
Justice Paul C. Thissen, above at his swearing-in ceremony in 2018, recently made a ruling following a bad law — a law that can be fixed.

In praise of upholding the rule of law

Even, as puzzling as it may be, when it's a lousy law.
Gov. Tim Walz held up a supplemental budget at a news conference in 2020.

You know the story on Minnesota's taxing, spending results — don't you?

Actually, a comparison from the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence tells a more complicated tale than what we usually hear.
President Joe Biden signs the American Rescue Plan in the Oval Office in Washington on Thursday. Even before the plan’s passage, this year’s defic

Washington's debt-defying show goes on

With the stimulus bill, it's Democrats' turn to perform without a net.
Crews placed concrete barriers and tall fences, some with barbed wire at the top, around the Hennepin County Government Center and the Hennepin county

The challenge of a fair trial for Chauvin

The presumption of innocence is strained amid public passions and pronouncements.
iStock5 dollar bill, 10 dollar bill.

A new consensus on the minimum wage? Yes, but …

It doesn't make a one-size-fits-all adjustment comfortable.
Gov. Tim Walz answers a question during a news conference to debut his state budget plan for the next two years on Jan. 26 at the Department of Revenu

Taxing the rich is trickier than it seems

Taxes incentivize people and businesses to change their behaviors, which is important when we consider who will pay in the end.
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally on Jan. 6 in Washington. By his own words, he hates losing. The storming of the Capitol by his part

Trump: America's sorest loser

They've been a 'public nuisance' since the republic's founding.
Security fences were erected around the Capitol complex in Washington on Jan. 7.

Though nation still stands, our faith is shaken

Our cumbersome system did its job under pressure, but it's now clear that the veneer of civilization is thin.
The total spent on 2020’s election will reach around $14 billion, up from around $6.5 billion in 2016. Yes, Joe Biden won, but in most cases money�

Political cash plentiful, not all-powerful

Record-smashing dollars flowed into this year's election, but it seems that it does less than expected to sway the minds of voters.
President Donald Trump makes a statement at the White House in Washington, on Nov. 5.

Oust Trump. Disappoint the left. Just right.

America needed to jettison this president, but happily it did it without empowering the leftist fanaticism threatening to stampede.
Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, addresses a drive-in campaign event in Las Vegas on Oct. 9.

As always, Biden goes where the wind blows

Court packing evasion shows that the Democratic nominee is more weak than woke.
The Rev. Ed Sthokal, above on July 28, 1978, often said the important thing in life was “to love wisely and well.”

A send-off for a mentor who wouldn't have wanted a fuss

In his talks at the Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Elmo, the Rev. Ed Sthokal sparked many thoughts. But there was one in particular.
The U.S. Supreme Court confounds attempts to shape it, D.J. Tice writes.

The unsculptable Supreme Court

Some justices just aren't malleable. What's more, they endure.
Is the Minnesota Supreme Court becoming increasingly political?

Legal dividing line hardens on the Minnesota Supreme Court

A string of politically charged 5-2 rulings suggest a state court separating into ideological blocs, a bit like a certain court in Washington.
A person sits on a statue of Abraham Lincoln in San Francisco on June 13 at a protest over the death of George Floyd.

With malice toward all, with charity for none

America's culture war rages on.
Minneapolis Police gather en masse as protests continued on May 27.

Here's why cops can't be held accountable

The second-guessing labor arbitration system makes it hard to discipline or fire problem officers, and it's been this way for decades.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that for every $1 New York’s residents and businesses send to the federal government, Washington spends 91 cents

Blue state/red state, rich state/poor state: Who's bailing out whom?

A school of thought worth attention considers what state governments spend compared with what they can afford.
Dick Heller walked to a news conference outside the Supreme Court in 2008 on the day his right to keep a handgun was affirmed. At that time the court

Supreme Court's nondecision on guns produces a crossfire

Both Second Amendment and gun-control purists want more from a U.S. Supreme Court that has given them only the middle ground.
Gov. Tim Walz provides an update on the state’s next steps to respond to COVID-19 during a news conference on Wednesday, April 8, in St. Paul.

Is the anti-viral economic medicine we're taking safe?

It's past time for a cost-benefit test on our current plan.
Dynamic duo: President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2018.

Not so bad, this era for the courts

It's reawakened Democrats to the value of democratic process.
House impeachment managers Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Rep.

In wake of the impeachment trial, beware the 'Never Say Never' voter

Aspects of the Trump resistance begin to look just as troubling.

Luxury begets affordable housing?

The magic of the market, in a chain reaction.
Former Supreme Court Justice Alan Page and Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari, right, listened to speakers during a forum on changing

Proposed state constitutional amendment: An invitation to judicial politics

The trouble with putting courts in charge of schools is the effect on courts.
Minnesota Chief Justice Lorie Gildea. The Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a voter challenge to a law that allowed the state Republican Pa

Disputes over Minnesota's presidential primary point to the perils of too much reform

Even in democracy there can be too much of a good thing.
The House has voted to impeach President Donald Trump, but the timing of a Senate trial remains unclear.

Impeachment: A stalemate, and why should this be any different?

A prolonged impasse might offer the best way for us to move on.
“We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable,” wrote Thomas Jefferson before the need for a punchier phrase became self-evident.

When the best words had weight: Great moments in political rhetoric

Today it's tweets, but once we were moved by tight phrases built to last.

'Trump-itis,' a media plague

Rebirth of "partisan press"may make political, business sense, but hurt U.S.

Taxing the rich pays — to a point, estate tax study shows

Lessons for a wealth tax, and a related lesson for Minnesota.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., spoke in early October in Seattle about lowering the cost of prescription drug prices. She supports H.R.

What might drug price controls cost us?

We can't be sure. But plainer language will aid clear thinking.

Test of time: What school expectations used to be

Those overseeing the field have a high-minded approach to relatively low ambitions.
President Andrew Johnson.

This impulse to impeach is becoming a habit

It's one way among several that our country has normalized instability.
The New York Times building in New York.

Press still struggling on Trump 'stress test'

The latest Kavanaugh kerfuffle further demonstrates blurred lines and loosened standards.
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras spoke with the Star Tribune after he was confirmed to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Stras auth

Free speech? Or bigotry? Work it out in court

With wedding video case, this state contributes to the process.
Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the U.S. Justice Department in 2015 to discuss the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. Ha

'Murder,' they tweeted, falsely, seeking office

The Democrats find grist in the Ferguson story, but not the whole story.
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, with health care plan, in 1993.

D.J. Tice: Beware the side effects of health care policy

History and a new study show the trade-offs, but politicos can't resist the allure of big promises.
Challengers to Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden — especially New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker — level charges that the veteran policymake

Crime laws didn't form in a vacuum — as I can attest

Now-detested policies were a response, people seem to forget.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “There’s plenty of money in this country,” he says. “It’s just in the wrong hands. We Democrats have to

How about an inequality debate based on data?

Useful context from the Congressional Budget Office.
In June, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell announced the firing of five police officers for failing to intervene in an assault last year. The police u

Arbitration win rate for fired cops, if you stop to think about it, is high

Nearly half of fired cops are reinstated. That's not alarming?

Why my shocking fender bill might be a good thing for the economy

What a repair suggests about health care, education costs.
FILE - In this April 22, 2008 file photo, conservative columnist and pundit George Will appears in this office in the Georgetown section of Washington

The Conservative Sensibility: A (mostly) clarifying higher-altitude view

There is a busman’s holiday quality in George F. Will’s scholarly new reflection on American conservatism. Perhaps the most distinguished political commentator of his generation,…
Marines marching in Danang during the Vietnam War — a war that David Pence says he regrettably protested in the ’60s.

A worthy reprint for a distinctive thinker

David Pence, a Mankato physician and teacher, was a tireless voice for Truth as he knew it — and he reckoned with a truth of his own.

In Minnesota, a hair more freedom at last

Not every occupation needs a license, the state is realizing.
Umpire Al Salerno called for the start of the Twins’ first home game of the year on April 22, 1964, at Metropolitan Stadium. The Old Met was a swell

Diamonds are a boy's best friend

With Twins on top, I recall my (nonconcurrent) glory on the mound and at Met Stadium.

Econ 101 is politically conducive — suddenly, selectively

When the left thinks (or not) about impacts on businesses and consumers, tariff-taxes terrible. Tax-taxes totally cool.
John C. Calhoun thought, among other things, that slavery was positive on the whole, that the economic system was inevitably rigged and that states co

The case for Calhoun

The questions of the past aren't as simple as our era assumes.
A courtroom sketch depicts former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor on the witness stand Thursday.

When does a horrible mistake become a crime?

Amid heartbreaking evidence in the Mohamed Noor trial, that remains the key question.

Suit seeking voter data hits a bigger issue

It's that entrusting government to investigate itself isn't a good idea. We need openness.

Don't be too quick to scrap the Electoral College

Stung by two recent elections, Democrats favor that path. But that's not what the Founders favored, with sound reasoning.
ROBERT MUELLER: As special counsel, the former FBI chief headed a 22-month investigation into the 2016 election. It found no witches.

D.J. Tice: Mueller provides evidence of what truly makes America great

His work, under great pressures, shows we are indeed a nation devoted to the rule of law.

How does Minnesota stack up on taxes and spending?

Here are some national benchmarks for Minnesota to ponder at budget-making time.
A fight for control: Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, has quickly established her willingness to say what she wants. More centrist Democrats such as Re

Ilhan Omar, fellow Minnesotans, cavort in center ring of a Democratic circus

Legislators have become emblems of factions that are transforming American politics.

Our options on drug costs: 'Universally unappealing'

Each solution has a catch, so for now the roulette game goes on.

Making parenting pay again: Of leave policy and social trends

An aging population is the force behind many policy pressures.
Richfield police officer Nathan Kinsey was fired in 2016, then reinstated in arbitration, a move backed by the state high court.

Arbitrators can't be second-guessed, can they?

That seems to the view of the Minnesota Supreme Court, public interests aside.

Guaranteed income, no work required. Does it work?

Finland gave it a test run. The results were "disappointing."
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron: Beset by factionalism, he put the question of “Brexit” to voters, with unforeseen complications.

What ails Britain and the U.S.? Perhaps too much democracy

Make that direct democracy, where undisciplined factions make compromise solutions difficult to reach.
Attendees at a “Cannabis Awareness Day” rally last April outside the State Capitol in St. Paul.

A note of caution as state weighs legalizing pot

Chronic users are likely to bear the brunt of the costs, and be most vulnerable to potential problems.

Yearning, again, for what makes America great

A marvelous event 50 years ago, in days of high anxiety, offers a reminder.

Scrutinizing what 'everybody knows' about inequality

Maybe the rich-poor gap is not as yawning as thought. So much depends on inputs and definitions.
View of tear gas that border police used to prevent groups of people from crossing the US-Mexico border at El Chaparral on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 in Ti

Social policy side effects may include …

How best-laid solutions on border security, family leave and drug-abuse prevention all backfired.
Trump vs. Roberts: A traditional tiff

Trump vs. Roberts: A traditional tiff

Disdain for unhelpful judges is positively ... presidential, and politically trendy, to boot.
The fastest-growing religion in the U.S. is “none at all,” reports the Star Tribune. And yet.

Of 'nones' and Jesuits and that old-time religion

A retreat at which we pondered riddles of faith shows the staying power of spirituality.

Fuel for the 'pro' side in the wage debate

Study finds a higher minimum is helping in Seattle after all — but there are complications.

Money in politics isn't the problem. Politicians are.

Overturning Citizens United would be a cure worse than the disease.

Take the Ellison-Kavanaugh Consistency Test here

Can consistent principles explain inconsistent verdicts?

All come to look for America (in progress)

Traveling west, I found our eclectic country rich with common ground.
Donald Trump : Accused of paying “hush money” as a candidate to former paramours.

A president dishonest, sleazy, unworthy but …

… impeachable? I said no once before. Has anything changed?

Confusion costs in 'affordable housing' debate

The worst shortage may be an income shortage — i.e., poverty — and market meddling isn't the best answer.

Minnesotans, remember: A governor can reshape the high court, quickly

They tend to get relatively more chances to pick judges than presidents do.

Superstorm Donald is jolting the GOP, but turbulence hits Democrats, too

DFL primaries match left, lefter and (relatively) center.
Thomas Duvall, in 2017. A state appellate panel upheld a ruling in favor of his petition for conditional release from the Minnesota Sex Offender Progr

A moment of truth for the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (again)

Courts are treating the laws on this subject seriously, however unpopular that may be.

Belief in God means what in America?

New research shows that definitions are flexible, with a political twist.

Job 1 for Minnesota voters: Get state government to do a better job

It simply has to. And don't let grandiose candidate rhetoric impede that goal.
So … Gorsuch? An even more timely question now.

So … Gorsuch? An even more timely question now.

How might Trump change the court? The newest justice's record offers some surprises.