Wednesday, March 08, 2006

 

Cue GOP Wingman!

As if on cue, GOP Wingman brings up an AP story that has Governor Pawlenty interested in appointing Minnetonka's own Ron Abrams to a judiciary seat in Hennepin County. I find myself wondering what the rules are for this situation - would Rep. Abrams finish the current legislative session and then resign his seat, touching off a special election in 43A, would the seat remain open until the November state-wide elections, or would Abrams finish his term, accept the judiciary appointment, and step aside for another Republican to run in his place? If the first possibility is the case, then I feel rather good about the chances of a DFL candidate (John Benson) who is already running, especially in Terri Bonoff's base precincts. If it's the last (something tells me this is most likely) then that makes the race more interesting, but it's still a solid candidate for a DFL pickup in the closely divided House.

Comments:
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Blogger MN Liberal said:
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Blogger MN Liberal said:
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Blogger MN Liberal said:
Quick answer:

The governor sets the date of the judicial appointment. If he appoints Abrams, and if the appointment does not take effect until after the legislative session, the vacancy is filled at the general election in November.

Long answer:

"Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of judge the governor shall appoint." Minn. Const. art. VI, sec. 8. According to the Minnesota Supreme Court, "a judicial appointment is made on its effective date." Winters v. Kiffmeyer, 650 N.W.2d 167, 171 (Minn. 2002). The governor "clearly has the authority to unilaterally set the effective date." Id. at 171 n.4. So, Gov. Pawlenty is free to select the effective date of the judicial appointment. Should he choose Rep. Abrams, I would assume he would set the effective date after the session is over.

"When a vacany occurs more than 150 days before the next state general election, and ... the legislature will not be in session before the final canvass of the state general election returns, the vacancy shall be filled at the next state general election." Minn. Stat. 204D.19, subd. 1. Thus, if the governor appoints Abrams and sets the appointment effective AFTER this legislative session, then the vacancy is filled at the general election (because the legislature will not convene again before the final canvass of election returns).

I won't get into what happens if the governor sets the effective date during the legislative session, because it won't happen. But if he did, it looks like that would require a special election within 33 days of the effective date of the appointment. See Minn. Stat. 204D.19, subd. 2.
 
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