Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mr. Justice Carpet Bagger

Tim Pawlenty appoints his middle finger to the Minnesota Supreme Court

I was alarmed when Governor Gutshot appointed Lorie Gildea as the the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, after she authored the sophomoric dissent in Brayton v. Pawlenty. But when I found out who he appointed to fill Gildea’s spot as an associate justice, well, now I’m with Rep. Ryan Winkler.

I’m nauseated. And I’m ashamed.

If you do the calculation, you will see that new Associate [gag] Justice David Stras, has been a lawyer in Minnesota just long enough to have participated in the Brayton v. Pawlenty case. It is apparently the only Minnesota case he ever worked on. He wrote an amicus curiae brief for the governor in that case when it was before the Supreme Court.

He never picked a jury in Fergus Falls, nor argued a case to one in Owatonna; he never sought an injunction in Worthington, nor pleaded for the rights of anybody in Minneapolis.

So, it would be fair to say that Stras was moved to become a practicing lawyer in Minnesota only when the prospect that poor people might get the nutrition they need reared its ugly head. It will be — well, interesting — to see what new depravities the new justice will bless.

Stras is currently a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, having moved to Minnesota five or six years ago, after clerking for the great civil libertarian, Clarence Thomas. He’s a member of the Federalist Society: the Tea Party for lawyers.

I’m going to do something that I rarely do. Get personal. I certainly don’t consider myself Minnesota Supreme Court material, but I have a lot of contemporaries, including some conservatives ones, who are, and each of us has over thirty-five times as much as experience as practicing Minnesota lawyers as David Stras does.

This is a fellow who has probably not received his first renewal notice for his bar license in Minnesota.

His appointment is, frankly, insulting to the practicing bar in Minnesota. Although at 35, he may survive long enough to escape the obloquy of the circumstances of his appointment.

But probably not.

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