More than half of the Minnesota Supreme Court justices slated to hear a court case challenging Tim Pawlenty’s authority to unilaterally impose budget cuts were appointed by the Republican governor.
Chief Justice Eric Magnuson was selected by Pawlenty in 2008 after previously serving as chair of the state’s Commission on Judicial Selection. Associate justices G. Barry Anderson, Lorie Skjerven Gildea and Christopher Dietzen were also appointed to their positions by the current governor.
The remaining jurists who are expected to hear the politically fraught case attained their positions through a variety of means.
Alan Page, the longest-serving jurist on the Supreme Court, won his seat through an open election in 1992. Paul Anderson was tapped for the state’s top court by Republican Gov. Arne Carlson two years later. And Helen Meyer was appointed by Independence Party Gov. Jesse Ventura in 2002.
In March, the Supreme Court is scheduled to weigh an appeal of a lower court ruling that Pawlenty overstepped his legal authority when he eliminated $5.3 million in funding for a nutrition program last year.
The cut was part of $2.7 billion in funding reductions that the governor made with his so-called unallotment authority. The Pawlenty administration appealed the ruling and the Supreme Court agreed to take up the case in an expedited manner.