Here’s a quote from Governor Gutshot, apparently from the presser he gave after the Ramsey County District Court unallotment decision, and helpfully provided by the sycophants at Politics in Minnesota:
“One of the long-term dangers of that type of action is to have future state budget debates and discussions be run out of a courtroom instead of out of the legislative process,” the governor said. “That degree of involvement by the court is concerning, to say the least.”
Run the legislative process out of a courtroom? Heaven forfend! Run the legislative process out of the governor’s office? Of course, says Gutshot! He was, after all, once a legislator:
I was in the Legislature for 10 years, and I’ve been governor for going on eight years, which is 18 years in which my positions on these matters have not changed.
Once a legislator, always a legislator, apparently.
The average person’s irony meter would be pegged at this point, but not the governor’s. He thinks that the judge is the activist, the extra-constitutionalist!
But let’s look at this issue critically, something that Gutshot will not, or cannot, do. We start, again, with the words of the Minnesota Constitution, in Article III:
Section 1. DIVISION OF POWERS. The powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments: legislative, executive and judicial. No person or persons belonging to or constituting one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others except in the instances expressly provided in this constitution.
Why there is a Section 1 when there is no Section 2 to the Article, Spot cannot say. This constitutional provision is, in any event, the basis for the court’s decision.
The Legislature sent the governor a balanced budget, but the governor vetoed the revenue bill, signed the spending bills and then remade the budget on his own through unallotment: for a biennium that had not even begun. The governor is the reason that the budget was out of balance.
Gutshot has what a psychiatrist might call “ego boundary problems.” He can’t figure out where he ends and the rest of the world begins. He thinks that Judge Gearin invaded his territory, but he refuses to acknowledge that he invaded the Legislature’s. Sigmund Spot might say — we may have to consult with him on this — that the lack of ability to perceive the irony here is a defense mechanism for Gutshot; otherwise the cognitive dissonance would kill him.
If we look at the actions of first the governor in making his own budget for the state, on the one hand, and the court, deciding a rather straight-forward provision in the state constitution, on the other; who’s the activist, as that term is so pejoratively used by conservatives? It’s the governor, and not by a whisker, either.
Governor Gutshot thinks Minnesota is some kind of banana republic, or maybe Pakistan, where he can nullify the acts of the legislature at whim and just take over when it acts contrary to his dictates. He differs in degree, but not in kind, from Pervez Musharraf.
The moment that Gutshot declared that he would nullify the legislature’s budget and make his own, the legislative leaders should have been at the court house filing the suit finally brought by six indigent Minnesota citizens and their Legal Aid lawyer.
This is as serious a constitutional issue as there is. It is an impeachment issue. Spot blames the Governor for creating it, but he condemns the Legislature for taking it.
Where is the leadership?