The Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s operating budget, declining to referee a political dispute between two co-equal branches of government that it said could resolve the issue themselves.
The 5-1 decision handed the Democratic governor a major legal victory as he seeks to roll back Republican-backed tax breaks and other measures he opposed but signed into law anyway this spring as part of a new state budget. And it left the Legislature on uncertain financial footing. Dayton welcomed the ruling while GOP lawmakers expressed dismay.
The ruling overturned a lower court decision that deemed Dayton’s action unconstitutional. But the high court said the state constitution does not allow the courts to order funding for the Legislature without an appropriation. And it said the Legislature has the authority to tap enough money to continue operating — at least $26 million and up to $40 million — until it reconvenes Feb. 20. So it rejected the argument that Dayton violated the constitution by effectively abolishing the Legislature.
I can't emphasize enough that I am no legal beagle. However, shouldn't there be some scrutiny as to why Dayton vetoed the items he did? He basically said back in May that legislative funding can be restored if legislators return to negotiating terms of a bill that he signed. Seems to me that a government executive using coercive tactics could give the impression that one is abusing his power, no? So why no action on that?
The majority opinion acknowledges there is a serious question about whether Gov. Dayton is attempting to unconstitutionally coerce the legislature, but decides that issue needs to be resolved between the other branches.— Harry Niska (@HarryNiska) November 16, 2017
So if indeed a GOP governor is ever elected in Minnesota, proggies will be totally cool if he/she utilizes the same tactics in order to get a more favorable budget deal from a DFL controlled legislature, correct? After all, the precedent has now been set. Enjoy!