Thursday, October 13, 2011

Living in Lesser Minnesota

Minnesota Supreme Court (update: Chief, sorry) Justice Lori Gildea made some regrettable remarks recently in Brainerd about being happy to be out among the real Minnesotans in real Minnesota:
"I'm so happy to be in real Minnesota," Gildea said.
Outside of the Twin Cities, she explained.

Which is interesting, of course, because as Jeff Rosenberg's helpful chart shows, a majority of Minnesotans live here in Lesser Minnesota:
Some of Jeff's commenters left comments along the lines of don't be silly; you're being divisive.

Which is also interesting.

Here are the first three Canons of Judicial Conduct in Minnesota:
1. A Judge Shall Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary. 
2. A Judge Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All of the Judge's Activities. 
3. A Judge Shall Perform the Duties of the Office Impartially and Diligently.
By at least seeming to profess allegiance to one geographic (and by implication, racial and economic, too) group of Minnesotans, the Chief Justice makes those of us living here in Lesser Minnesota wonder about her independence and impartiality on matters involving rural and urban division: local government aid, school finance, health and human services funding, and redistricting are all issues that come to mind: issues that have been, and are likely to be again, before Court.

There is a reason why Canon 2 addresses itself to "the appearance of impropriety." Justice Gildea's remarks are an example of that reason. For example, it would be understandable if a plaintiff in Brayton v. Pawlenty would have worried about getting a fair shake after remarks like these.

Oh, wait . . .

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