Nine more Republican lawmakers have joined a lawsuit against Gov. Tim Walz regarding his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit was filed on May 28 by four members of the New House Republican Caucus, the Free Minnesota Coalition, and at least eight businesses across the state. The complaint argues that the governor does not have the authority to “suspend the constitutional rights of Minnesotans.”
Specifically, the lawsuit claims 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.
In response to the lawsuit, the courts have ordered the Walz administration to provide legal justification for its actions no later than today. A formal hearing for the lawsuit has been set for July 16, 2020 in Ramsey County District Court.
“With a writ of quo waranto, the burden is on the governor to prove that he had the constitutional authority to exercise the powers he asserted with his emergency executive orders,” Dan McGrath, a spokesperson for the Free Minnesota Coalition, explained in a press release. “If our lawsuit prevails, all of the peacetime emergency orders will be nullified and the balance of power between the executive, legislative and judicial branches in state government will be restored.”
On Tuesday, nine more state lawmakers joined the lawsuit against Walz, including Reps. Shane Mekeland (R-Clear Lake), Mary Franson (R-Alexandria), Eric Lucero (R-Dayton), Joe McDonald (R-Delano), Jeff Backer (R-Browns Valley), and Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe). In the Minnesota Senate, Sens. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), Mike Goggin (R-Red Wing), and Andrew Mathews (R-Milaca) have joined the lawsuit.
“The unilateral authority awarded to Gov. Walz by virtue of his declaring a peacetime emergency is egregious and unconstitutional,” Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa), leader of the New House Republican Caucus, said in a press release.
“On June 12, Gov. Walz once again extended the peacetime emergency declaration by a full month. These actions have allowed the governor to circumvent the Minnesota Legislature for four full months. No governor should be allowed to write law on their own and dismiss the legislative branch of government,” he added.
A GoFundMe page was launched to help support the legal challenge and has raised more than $21,000 so far.
“Our system demands checks and balances,” added Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal). “The governor’s decision to ignore our constitutional process is devastating to the institutions which maintain a responsible system of self-governance. We filed this lawsuit because Governor Walz has not been held accountable for his unconstitutional actions.”
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