In his June 2 barn-burner of a convention speech, the DFL’s nominee for attorney general, Matt Pelikan, made a series of assertions about incumbent Attorney General Lori Swanson. Among those was one allegation that we hadn’t heard about previously.
As attorney general, Swanson entered and then quietly backed out of a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s travel ban, Pelikan told delegates.
We wondered. So we queried Swanson’s office. This is her spokesman Benjamin Wogsland’s verbatim reply:
“You ask about the travel ban lawsuit. Attorney General Swanson was one of two attorneys general in the nation who stepped forward last year to initiate a lawsuit against the federal administration to enjoin the travel ban executive order. Along with the Washington State Attorney General, Attorney General Swanson was one of two attorneys general to get a federal court injunction declaring the travel ban illegal. She was also one of just two attorneys general to get a ruling in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the order striking down the travel ban executive order.
“Thereafter, the federal administration issued a new travel ban. Minnesota was not part of the second lawsuit relating to the second travel ban. There are two types of constitutional challenges: ‘as-written’ challenges and ‘as-applied’ challenges. An ‘as-written’ challenge is one that argues that a document is unconstitutional as written. An ‘as-applied’ challenge is one that argues that a document is unconstitutional in its application. Other states (Hawaii) stepped forward to file a lawsuit against the second travel ban. Therefore, it made sense for Minnesota to monitor that litigation and be in a position to be able to file an ‘as-applied’ challenge in the event that the order was unconstitutionally applied to people in the State of Minnesota.”
Everybody got that? Good.