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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where's Wersal?

Filings for judicial office close at 4:30 p.m. today and so far Golden Valley attorney Greg Wersal, says he is undecided about whether to run. He's frustrated because he believes he is prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct from raising campaign money. Wersal is a plaintiff in a a federal lawsuit challenging the portions of the code of judicial conduct that prohibit judicial candidates from endorsing other candidates and restrict solicitation of funds. In his verified complaint, Wersal states he is a candidate for justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court in the 2008 election and intends to run in future judicial elections. A motion for a preliminary injunction has been argued to Judge Ann Montgomery and is under advisement. Query whether Wersal would have standing to continue with the suit if he doesn’t file? His attorney, James Bopp of Indiana, said yes, since Wersal could plan to run in the future.

Wersal said he has been waiting for Montgomery to rule on his request before making a decision. "It's very discouraging that we can't get an order. The judge knew the filing deadline," he said. "It's disheartening as hell when your constitutional rights are limited. Until a judge releases me I can't even ask my spouse for money. I don't see how they can find [the code] constitutional but it's six years of litigation while the incumbents have all the protection. You have to wonder about the people on the Supreme Court who allow this to happen," Wersal told Minnesota Lawyer.
Allowing that there's a good chance he won't file for office without an injunction in hand, Wersal said he would absolutely run for the court in 2010. Apparently referring to the court, he said, "By then they better damn well watch themselves."
Perhaps the recent retirement of former Chief Justice Russell Anderson threw a monkey wrench into Wersal’s plans, since he had previously hinted that was the race he intended to enter. Paul Anderson already has two opponents, Alan Lawrence Nelson, about whom we know practically nothing, and Tim Tinglestad, a child support magistrate in Bemidji, who ran against Justice Alan Page in 2004 and Judge Terrence Holter in 2006.

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