A Big Win For Bureaucrats

Yesterday’s ruling at the SCOM sums up about like this:  Bureaucrats trump legislators.

Gary at LFR puts it well:

When bureacrats’ ruling has more bearing on election law than legislators and governors, then it’s clear that bureaucrats have overstepped their authority. The minute that happens, the legislature needs to step in and limit the bureaucrats’ authority.

Hopefully, the new GOP legislators are writing that legislation as I’m writing this post. We pay legislators to write laws. We don’t pay administrative law judges to tell us that existing law isn’t relevant. Also, we don’t pay Supreme Court justices to write new law. Theoretically, we pay appellate court justices to tell us what the law says. PERIOD.

It disturbs me, personally, how frequently “administrative law” – law as interpreted by bureaucrats – overrides the law as passed by elected representatives of the people.

The worst example I’ve seen remains the City of Saint Paul’s administrative lynching of “Saint Paul Firearms”, a gun shop that briefly opened on Snelling Avenue.  The store obeyed all applicable laws – exceeded them, at least in terms of security, in every particular – but some of the religiously DFL-voting neighbors got the victorian vapors over the thought of sharing the neighborhood with a gun store.

So they didn’t bother with real courts; they went to the “Administrative Law” court.  And they got the ruling they wanted; the ruling that said “forget Minnesota law, to say nothing of the United States Constitution; bureaucrats see it the way you want to see it!”  And so the store was forced to close, destroying an honest entrepreneur’s investment of his life’s savings in the process.

I’m n0 lawyer – I have some standards – so I frankly don’t know what to think about the SCOM’s ruling yet.  It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve sided unconscionably with the bureaucrats against, y’know, the law.

We’ll see.

10 thoughts on “A Big Win For Bureaucrats

  1. And that idiot Dayton had the audacity to state that Emmer was relying on antiquated laws to try to skew the results because he lost.

    The point here, dumb ass, is that it is still the law!

    Of course, if the situation were reversed, you can bet fat boy Elias and the rest of the Dimwit goon squad would be harping on it no end!

    I hand wrote letters to my state rep and senator yesterday with one sentence after the greeting – Before you people do anything else, change the election laws and require photo ID to vote!

  2. OK, if we have 30-40,000 votes over what the actual tally says we should have in 2008, how exactly is a provision to monitor and correct for this”antiquated”? As someone who isn’t exactly happy over our junior Senator, I personally have to wonder if some of those “extra” votes put the clown into office, at the cost of trillions of dollars.

    And the question of “does Emmer have hard data?”; DUH. Of course he doesn’t, and that’s why proper reconciliation is supposed to be done!

  3. Alright, there needs to be some education here before the comments get to facepalming-levels of blather. First this:

    “Theoretically, we pay appellate court justices to tell us what the law says.”

    No. No no no no no NO NO NO NO.

    We pay appellate court justices to *apply* the law to settle disputes and pass on purported mistakes of the court below. If they are there to merely say what the law is, then I am a justice.


    “It disturbs me, personally, how frequently “administrative law” – law as interpreted by bureaucrats – overrides the law as passed by elected representatives of the people.”

    The legislature establishes agencies (that become part of the executive branch) and authorizes them to promulgate and enforce rules. When there is a purported violation of these rules or a dispute as to their application, they are brought before an ALJ because – and this is important – THE LEGISLATURE HAS VESTED ORIGINAL JURISDICTION IN THE ALJ for matters that come under the purview of the given administrative agency. ALJs are not there to provide another forum shopping option for the crafty litigant. They exist because they have special comeptence in the regulatory millieu; and, again, that power was vested in them by the legislature.

  4. I don’t think your argument is intellectually honest, Mitch. Reconciliation is the law, and nobody’s claiming otherwise. The question is, HOW do we do reconciliation? The statute uses language that is obsolete — it calls for using “signed voter’s certificates” or “the number of names entered in the election register,” neither of which exist.

    So, nearly 30 years ago, the Secretary of State issued a rule updating that language. In the absence of either of those materials, the rule says, we can instead use either voter receipts — for which a voter must sign — or the number of names signed on the roster.

    The legislature could have changed the law any time they wanted. My guess is that they felt the rule adequately captured the intent of the original law. And be honest here — doesn’t it?

  5. Two things:

    1) Foot’s right about the law. If it were up to me, we wouldn’t cede so much power to the bureaucrats, but our beef in this instance is with the legislature which allows this sort of thing to happen. Now that the Republicans control the legislature, they have an opportunity to set things right. It’s up to us to keep this matter on the lege’s to-do list.

    2) Having said that, it’s not intellectually dishonest to question how things are set up currently. It wouldn’t be horribly burdensome to tabulate the number of names entered into the election register and it would add an additional safeguard. It might not be an administrative requirement at the moment, but it really ought to be.

  6. Pingback: Let Freedom Ring » Blog Archive » Dayton Didn’t Get the Memo

  7. My thought here is that a signature is a lot more unique than a ballot card, and if we indeed are finding tens of thousands of over-votes, we do have an issue that requires the use of the law as written–requiring an actual count of signatures.

    We need to get that, and we need to start asking hard questions of “why did precinct A have trouble with this two elections in a row?”

  8. No, it’s not the same thing.

    The signature in the book is testimony, under penalty of perjury, that the person signing the book is legally entitled to vote.

    The receipt and ballot are anonymous. They have no tracking mechanism. There’s no way to tell who put them in the box.

    Well, yes, but only people who sign the book get receipts, and only people who have receipts get ballots, so it’s all the same, right?

    Then how do you explain that only 100 people signed the book but there are 110 receipts and 110 ballots? How’d those extra 10 people get to vote without qualifying to vote by signing the book?

    When you disable the first and most reliable security check, you cripple the integrity of the rest of the system.

    There’s a purpose for the law. The Republicans want to follow the law. The Democrats don’t. What does that tell you?


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