Jurisdiction Examined in Lawsuit to Open Minnesota’s Small Businesses
Last week, the Free Minnesota Coalition filed a petition with the Minnesota Court of Appeals to overturn Governor Walz’s executive orders keeping small businesses closed. The coalition claims the orders are unconstitutional under the Equal Protection provision of the 14th Amendment.
This week, the Court issued its first response to the lawsuit, questioning whether the Court of Appeals is the appropriate venue, with original jurisdiction to hear the case.
Erick Kaardal, counsel for the coalition asserted that the Court of Appeals is the right venue to file in because Minnesota Statute § 14.44 states, “The validity of any rule may be determined upon the petition for a declaratory judgment thereon, addressed to the court of appeals, when it appears that the rule, or its threatened application, interferes with or impairs, or threatens to interfere with or impair the legal rights or privileges of the petitioner.”
The Court further questioned whether the governor’s executive orders are to be considered “rules” under the statute. Petitioners point to Minnesota Statute § 14.02, definitions to clarify that the governor’s executive orders should be considered rules, as defined by the statute.
14.02, subdivision 4 reads, “’Rule’ means every agency statement of general applicability and future effect, including amendments, suspensions, and repeals of rules, adopted to implement or make specific the law enforced or administered by that agency or to govern its organization or procedure.”
The governor is included under the term, “agency” in subdivision, 2, stating, “’Agency’ means any state officer, board, commission, bureau, division, department, or tribunal, other than a judicial branch court and the Tax Court, having a statewide jurisdiction and authorized by law to make rules or to adjudicate contested cases.”
The petitioners are this week filing a response with the Court, reaffirming the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals based on this statute.