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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Minnesota Supreme Court: "You bet! We're Results-Oriented!"

In an opinion released today as to when the City of Minneapolis is obliged to redistrict local election districts, Justice Paul Anderson provides a rare insight into how decisions are made at the State Supreme Court.

Ever wondered how the Justices decide what the words in the State Constitution mean? Well, apparently they will follow established precedent on the meaning of things "unless there is a principled basis" not to do so.

Well, that doesn't seem like much of a test....

Most of the liberals that I know are keenly principled individuals – but they are also wrong about most everything in the world. And, as anyone who has ever made an honest mistake knows, sincerity and accuracy are two very different things….

Likewise chilling, for Justice Paul Anderson, it appears that disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on federal law is pretext enough for him to put new words in the State Constitution. He writes: "[W]e will look to the Minnesota Constitution when we conclude that the United States Supreme Court has made a sharp or radical departure from its previous decisions or approach to the law and when we discern no persuasive reason to follow such a departure. We also will apply the state constitution if we determine that the Supreme Court has retrenched on Bill of Rights issues, or if we determine that federal precedent does not adequately protect our citizens’ basic rights and liberties."

All of which raises the prospect that if the U.S. Supreme Court might become more conservative with Bush nominees, judges here at home might begin new rounds of adding words to the Minnesota Constitution.