The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected a motion Thursday to take up a case that challenges Gov. Tim Walz’s use of emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our case is still in the appeals process. However, in response to the majority of citizens in rural Minnesota demanding that we do something about the governor’s unchecked powers, we asked the State Supreme Court to take up our case now. Today, the Supreme Court said they want to let it play out through the slow gears of the regular appeals process,” state Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-Lake Crystal, said in a statement.
Munson and his colleagues in the New House Republican Caucus filed the lawsuit in May along with several businesses and the Free Minnesota Coalition. A total of 13 lawmakers and more than 40 business owners have since joined the case.
The complaint argues that the governor does not have the authority to “suspend the constitutional rights of Minnesotans.”
Specifically, the lawsuit claims that Walz has exceeded his legal authority in a variety of ways, starting with his alleged violation of the “non-delegation doctrine,” since his executive orders are an “exercise of pure legislative power without judicial oversight.”
Additionally, Minnesota law does not authorize the governor to invoke emergency powers for public health purposes, the lawsuit contends.
A third argument in the suit claims that all of the governor’s coronavirus-related executive orders are illegitimate because the statutory authority he relied upon (Minnesota Statutes 12.31) is unconstitutional. The statute is unconstitutional because it authorizes a legislative veto on the extension of peacetime emergencies, but the Minnesota Constitution does not provide for legislative veto powers.
A Ramsey County judge dismissed the lawsuit last month, but attorneys in the case filed an appeal, specifically requesting an expedited review from the Minnesota Supreme Court.
The petition for an accelerated review was denied Thursday and the lawsuit will instead have to make its way through the appellate courts.
“Other courts in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and even California have rolled back their governors’ unlimited emergency powers. In Minnesota, businesses continue to close permanently, with tens of thousands of jobs lost and livelihoods destroyed,” said Munson. “We need immediate action to help our citizens and solve our constitutional crisis. It is time we restore the legislature as a co-equal branch of government.”