Monday, October 24, 2011

Duke Powell, a Paramedic and Former Legislator,

Raises an Interesting Issue About Redistricting

Although Duke and I are on opposite sides of the fence politically, he is a decent and knowledgeable person.

I thank him for giving me permission to quote him: (emphasis mine)

I question the Constitutional authority of either the Governor or the Courts in matters concerning redistricting. While I’m not a lawyer, I am able to read. The MN Constitution seems clear:

“Article IV Sec. 3. CENSUS ENUMERATION APPORTIONMENT; CONGRESSIONAL AND LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT BOUNDARIES; SENATE DISTRICTS. At its first session after each enumeration of the inhabitants of this state made by the authority of the United States, the legislature shall have the power to prescribe the bounds of congressional and legislative districts.

Nearly all of you might react to this by saying, “But the Governor has the right to approve or veto all bills passed by the Legislature.”

My response is “Yeah, except for when he doesn’t.” Consider this section:

“Article III Section 1. DIVISION OF POWERS. The powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments: legislative, executive and judicial. No person or persons belonging to or constituting one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others except in the instances expressly provided in this constitution.”

The powers of redistricting were expressly granted to the Legislative body.
The Governor, nor the courts, are given a role.

To further buttress this argument, consider this section:

“Article IV Sec. 24. PRESENTATION OF ORDERS, RESOLUTIONS, AND VOTES TO GOVERNOR. Each order, resolution or vote requiring the concurrence of the two houses except such as relate to the business or adjournment of the legislature shall be presented to the governor and is subject to his veto as prescribed in case of a bill.”

As we see, there are exceptions to the power of the Governor to veto as they “relate to the business… of the Legislature.” It is my position that the MN Constitution has made redistricting the “business” of the Legislature.

Very interesting analysis... 


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