Quantcast
Home / News / Gearin denies Dayton call for mediator, senators’ motion to intervene
There will be no ruling today in the larger question of how the state will proceed in the event of a shutdown, Gearin says.

Gearin denies Dayton call for mediator, senators’ motion to intervene

Sens. Warren Limmer and Sean Nienow

(Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin denied a motion from Gov. Mark Dayton to order mediation between the administration and Republican lawmakers to head off a government shutdown July 1, but said there will be no ruling today on the larger question of how the state will proceed if the impasse continues.

Gearin also denied a motion from four Republican senators to intervene as a separate party in the shutdown case, instead leaving them to be represented by the full Senate’s filing and offering them the option to file a brief making their case that way.

Late Thursday morning after the rulings, the court broke for a brief recess and will take up a series of other motions to intervene from other parties this afternoon, a process that may stretch into tomorrow morning, Gearin said.

The idea is to pare back the number of motions before the court and differentiate  those who need to be separate parties in the suit from those who are simply making the case that their specific budget area is essential.  Once that process is completed, the parties in the case will be set and the rest of the hearing can proceed.

In beginning with Dayton’s request to appoint a mediator, Gearin said she was not willing to order two separate branches of government into “mandatory mediation,” saying that it would be improper to do so. Dayton was the only party involved in the case arguing that Gearin should order mediation.

After the hearing, the four GOP senators who brought their separate claim — Sens. Warren Limmer, chair of the Judiciary Committee, Scott NewmanSean Nienow and Roger Chamberlain — said they would have to discuss among themselves and consult their Senate colleagues before deciding how to proceed. They have the option to file an amicus brief in the case, Gearin told them, to make their argument heard.

The four also originally filed a similar claim before the Supreme Court, a petition that was dismissed, albeit without prejudice, yesterday afternoon. Depending how Gearin ultimately rules, that constitutional claim before the high court could be revived.

Gearin’s method of proceeding with the case — dealing with peripheral issues and setting the parties before moving onto the core question of what happens if no budget agreement is reached by next Friday — leaves even less time and more uncertainty for the state as the end of its fiscal year approaches June 30.

In Gearin’s comments from the bench, she made clear there were significant constitutional issues to be tackled in the case and that, despite the inherent urgency, she’s inclined to weigh the matter before her carefully. In doing so, she also implied that the same playbook that guided the state in previous budget impasses and in 2005’s shutdown is not necessarily applicable this time around.

“This puts this into a constitutional disagreement of extreme significance,” Gearin said, referring to the disparate positions of Dayton, Attorney General Lori Swanson and the Legislature. Gearin repeatedly pointed out that the circumstances facing her court and the state are unlike anything tackled before, including the previous government shutdown in 2005.

“This is unique,” Gearin said. “This is a far more sweeping issue.”

About Jake Grovum

Leave a Reply