The key point of Ramsey Court Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin’s decision:
The Legislative branch has the fundamental constitutional power to appropriate the public funds. This power is tempered by the Governor’s veto authority. Their policy differences regarding how to deal with Minnesota’s present budget situation can only be resolved by them. Those branches have the institutional competency to break the present budgetary deadlocks, the judicial branch.
It is important that all parties understand that the decision made by this Court today has nothing to do with the merit or lack of merit of the individual programs unalloted by the Governor. The Court’s decision was based on the way he unaBated, not what he unalloted. Difficult decisions that will be painful to many citizens will have to be made by the Executive and Legislative branches in order to deal with the continuing budget crisis in this state. Those budget and policy decisions are not the business of the courts unless they are made in a way that violates the Constitution.
(Gearin was elected to the bench and, apparently, has no known party affiliation, incidentally.)