I have been pondering how one elected official (here, the Chief Justice), elected to a constitutional office, can create a “council” (here, the Judicial Council) to govern in their stead. I tried to locate the supposed “authorizing” order on the MN Judicial Branch website, but what I saw was this:
You will have to do better than that!
I also requested a copy of the supposed authorizing order by email this morning.
I sent the email to Carla Heyl (who told me this morning that she is the Manager of the Legal Counsel Division of the State Court Administrator’s Office).
I don’t have a copy of the “order” yet (even the website refers to it as an “administrative” order – what is that?) but I am anxiously awaiting it. If it is not easy for people in court administration to put their fingers on, we may have a different problem.
I won’t be satisfied with anything less than an original signature on the so-called authorizing order.
Today Carla Heyl told me the Supreme Court has not destroyed any of its documents in favor of digitizing. So there should be no reason why the original order is not produced for inspection by the Public.
For purposes of this post, my point is that government is subject to constraints. A new body cannot be created, just because it is convenient. Or someone’s idea of “efficient.” And, in particular, I see no reason to permit the Chief Justice to shirk responsibility for administration, merely because a Council now convenes.
Until 2005, the Conference of Chief Judges acted in an advisory capacity.
Really, I think that’s what the Judicial Council probably is – an advisory council. And it’s fine for administrators to seek guidance. That’s all good.
But I have a hard time with one elected official shifting the responsibility (which, let’s face it, usually comes to roost when something goes wrong) to a “council.”
Lorie S. Gildea accepted Governor Pawlenty’s appointment to Chief Justice. At this time, it appears she is responsible for the administration of the judicial branch. And the Public has a right to hold her accountable.