Thursday, December 06, 2007

More than a glancing blow

When Spot put up his post Is the governor a spanker?, he delivered a glancing blow to the governor for appointing the "spanking judge" to the Minnesota Supreme Court, noting that the governor had called Judge Dietzen "kindhearted." In praising the appointment, here's what Chris Tiedeman had to say:

Governor Pawlenty also appointed appeals court Judge Christopher Dietzen to replace the Honorable Sam Hanson on the State Supreme Court. Justice Dietzen is a class act, has been a brilliant private practice attorney and has served with absolute distinction on the court of appeals since December of 2004. Justice Dietzen will join a court growing more and more restrained and intellectually honest after a handful of truly egregious, and intellectually void decisions over the years. Justice Dietzen will serve along side model justices such as Barry Anderson and Lorie Gildea. He will stand with integrity and a humble nature along with Chief Justice Russell Anderson (a former Judge in Crookston, and a St. Olaf Grad himself).

I cannot express how exciting today's announcements are, especially in light of a judiciary that is often unrestrained and all too often political. Nobody can make those claims about this set of appointments. Governor Pawlenty continues to impress as he leaves his mark on the judiciary. His influence and his integrity will have a lasting effect long past his Gubernatorial tenure. [italics are Spot's]

Then yesterday, Nick Coleman's whole column was devoted to the effect that eight years of Governor Pepsodent is going to have on the high court in Minnesota. Coleman picked up on some language from Judge Dietzen's opinion, also linked to by Spot above, saying this:

Dietzen burnished his conservative credentials by writing a July Appeals Court opinion overturning a [trial court] ruling that the repeated "Biblically based paddling" of a 12-year-old Bloomington boy [constituted] physical abuse.

That opinion won Dietzen praise for upholding "parental rights" from "pro-family" groups that support Pawlenty, despite Dietzen's tortured finding that the "chosen form of discipline for [the son's] knife-wielding and suicide threat may not have been the best approach."

Wow. Sometimes, a judge has to work really hard not to be "an activist." And sometimes, deciding not to act is to act.

Spot is sure this is just the kind of intellectual honesty that Chris Tiedeman is talking about!

A thump of the tail to Avidor for reading "The Party of Pawlenty" so Spot doesn't have to.

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