Three Minnesotans Tuesday filed a petition to demand an election to fill Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson's seat on the bench.
Magnuson last week announced that his last day on the bench would be June 30. The timing gives Gov. Tim Pawlenty a chance to appoint Magnuson's successor, rather than having an open election to fill the seat.
The petition from Heather Robins, a voter, Gregory Wersal, who said he would be a candidate for chief justice if he could be, and Jill Clark, who would also file her candidacy, says that the Minnesota constitution mandates elections for judges. Wersal and Clark have both wrangled with the rules of court elections before.
"If the governor appoints (and appoints and appoints) the result is that the right of the public to select by judicial (election) is not only infringed - it is eviscerated," the petition said. "Governors have managed, over time, to make elections of judges quite rare."
The petition seeks to prevent Gov. Tim Pawlenty from appointing someone to the chief justice seat and to require Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to place the seat on the ballot.