Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Minnesota’s Supreme Justices Knock Me Out

I was surprised by their decision because I thought they’d do the right thing and not the political thing!
by Charlie Leck

By a 3 to 2 vote!
It was by a split decision that the Minnesota Supreme Court voted to allow a very poor description of an amendment to the constitution to stand 
on the November ballot just as the legislature wrote it and not as the Secretary of State had amended it. The three justices who voted to go with the legislature’s wording were all appointees of the former conservative Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. They also ruled that the legislature’s original title for the Marriage Amendment question for the Minnesota Constitution should stand. [If you wish, you can read the StarTribune story about the decision here.]

Progressives wanted that language clarified on both constitutional amendment proposals so that voters would know exactly what they are voting on when they have the ballots before them in the voting booth. The language on both issues is very misleading.

Chuck Samuelson of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota bluntly stated the following: “Today we are Florida! This was a political decision by a political court!”

In his dissent, Justice Alan Page (elected and not appointed to the Court), had some scathing things to say:

"It is ironic, if not Orwellian, that in the name of 'protecting' the voter and preventing unspecified voting 'fraud,' the Legislature has resorted to a ballot question that deliberately deceives and misleads the very voters it claims must be protected."

Orwellian? Indeed!

Make no mistake, this was a victory for the conservative and Tea Party cause in Minnesota!

The League of Women Voters in Minnesota, which brought the law suit, was disappointed but looked for the positives: “At least we got the conversation started.”

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