St. Paul – Yesterday, Governor Tim Walz responded to a lawsuit brought against him regarding his emergency powers and the constitutionality of his actions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawsuit was brought against Governor Walz by members of the Minnesota Legislature and the Free Minnesota Coalition.
Specifically, the lawsuit was brought against Governor Walz for three reasons.
1. The Governor’s executive orders violate the non-delegation doctrine because the executive orders are an exercise of pure legislative power without judicial oversight.
2. Minnesota Statutes § 12.31 subd. 2 does not authorize the Governor to invoke emergency powers for public health purposes.
3. Minnesota Statutes § 12.31 unconstitutionally authorizes a legislative veto; there is no Minnesota Constitutional provision authorizing legislative vetoes.
In his response, Governor Walz did not address the arguments relating to the non-delegation doctrine or the legislative veto. Instead, the Governor claimed that his actions were entirely constitutional because the COVID-19 pandemic was an “act of nature” rather than a public health crisis.
“Governor Walz’s total failure to directly or adequately answer the substance of our arguments shows that his administration is an unconstitutional clown show,” said Rep. Steve Drazkowski (Republican-Mazeppa). “The Governor rejected the premise of one of our arguments, and he blatantly disregarded the other two. If he was so sure his actions were constitutional, then he would have proved it yesterday. He did not.”
“We are winning on this issue, and Governor Walz knows it,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson (Republican-Lake Crystal). “The executive orders and actions undertaken by the Walz Administration are on extremely precarious legal footing. Governor Walz knows this, and that is why he has failed to defend his actions against legitimate arguments.”
Now that the Walz Administration has formally responded to the lawsuit, a hearing has been set for July 16, 2020. On that day, a Ramsey County District Court Judge will determine if this lawsuit will proceed.
“The people of Minnesota will have their day in court soon, and Governor Walz will have to give a better answer than he did yesterday,” said Rep. Tim Miller (Republican-Prinsburg).
“It is in times of crisis that the foundation for future damaging laws are laid. Statute 12.31 was passed into law during a past crisis,” said Rep. Cal Bahr (Republican-East Bethel). “In a Constitutional Republic, no single person should ever have this much power.”
For more information regarding the lawsuit, please see the following link: https://www.newhousegop.com/lawsuit_on_the_governor_s_emergency_powers
The NHRC is led by Rep. Steve Drazkowski (Republican-Mazeppa). It includes Rep. Cal Bahr (Republican-East Bethel), Rep. Tim Miller (Republican-Prinsburg), and Rep. Jeremy Munson (Republican-Lake Crystal).