Contact: Jana Kooren, ACLU of Minnesota, jkooren@aclu-mn.org 651-485-5925 cell or 651-529-1693

St. Paul, Minn. – Last fall, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) filed a brief in the Minnesota Supreme Court on behalf of itself and 17 other organizations and individuals in Rebecca Otto v. Wright County. The brief argued that the lower courts erred in refusing to enforce the single-subject clause of the Minnesota Constitution. Today, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature did not violate the single-subject clause when it stuck into an omnibus bill a provision stripping the State Auditor’s office of substantial duties and funding.

The following quote can be attributed to ACLU-MN Executive Director John Gordon:

“The Supreme Court has missed a chance to uphold the integrity and transparency of our government. The Court has warned the Legislature repeatedly not to violate the single-subject clause, but it has almost never done anything to prevent these violations.  Again today the Court has allowed the Legislature to ignore the Constitution’s requirement that laws should deal with only one subject.  And the title and description of a bill should clearly align with what the legislature ultimately passes and the governor signs. Minnesotans should be able to know what their legislators are voting on and to fully participate in the discussion of those issues. We will continue to fight for the integrity of our Constitution and the systems that uphold it.” 

The clients that joined together on the brief were: American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota; Center for Popular Democracy;  Center of the American Experiment; Civic Caucus; Gender Justice; Growth & Justice; Honorable Jack Davies; Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota;  Indian Land Tenure Foundation; Jewish Community Action; Key Investment;  League of Women Voters Minnesota; Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers;  Minnesota Coalition on Government Information; Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association; David Schultz; Warren Spannaus and TCF Financial Corporation.

Cooperating attorneys in the case included: Melissa Muro LaMere, William Z. Pentelovitch and Michael C. McCarthy of Maslon LLP along with Teresa Nelson and John Gordon of the ACLU-MN.

Link to Decision
Link to Brief

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