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Erick Kaardal filed a petition Sept. 7 on behalf of a conservative watchdog group to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit between the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton. (File photo)
Erick Kaardal filed a petition Sept. 7 on behalf of a conservative watchdog group to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit between the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton. (File photo)

Bar Buzz: ‘Untimely’ Kaardal intervention petition denied

The Supreme Court on Sept. 28 denied attorney Erick Kaardal’s motion to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit between the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton.

Kaardal’s petition was untimely, Chief Justice Lorie Gildea wrote in the court’s two-page order. As has been true throughout Dayton’s Supreme Court appeal, Justice David Stras did not participate in the decision.

Kaardal filed the Sept. 7 petition on behalf of a conservative watchdog group, the Association for Government Accountability. It made two basic arguments.

First, his motion claimed that Ramsey County District Court Chief Judge John H. Guthmann lacked “subject matter jurisdiction” to rule on Dayton’s May 30 line-item vetoes, which defunded the Legislature. The Legislature — having thus far gone through only the first year of the two-year biennium — retains the power to overturn that veto, he wrote.

“Thus, for the Legislature to embroil the judiciary … is to open the doors to use of the judiciary as a default process for line-item vetoes that the Legislature dislikes,” he wrote. That, Kaardal added, is “a judicial embroilment that is unconscionable under the Minnesota Constitution.”

Second, Kaardal’s petition claimed, Guthmann lacked jurisdiction to render his declaratory judgment that overturned the Dayton vetoes. The Minnesota Constitution “provides no private cause of action or common law right to resolve issues between the legislative and executive branches” over a law’s enactment, he wrote.

“Only the legislature can grant that authority,” the petition says.

Granting the petition would have allowed Kaardal to introduce those arguments into the case, which both sides otherwise have failed to do, his petition says.

Gildea did not detail the court’s decision beyond citing precedent and the Minnesota Court Rules of Civil Procedure to declare the motion “untimely.”

“Which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Kaardal said in an Oct. 2 interview. “But we are of course following it. We see a lot of our arguments being used, so we are very interested in the outcome.”

Guthmann overturned Dayton’s veto on July 19. The governor then appealed to the Supreme Court.

The high court ruled on Sept. 8 that Dayton’s vetoes were, in fact, constitutional and ordered the parties to work out their continuing funding dispute through mediation.

Those talks broke down Sept. 22, however, and the dispute remains unresolved.

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