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Monday, August 18, 2008

Candidate Clark's petition put on the fast track

We pointed out in an earlier post that Minneapolis attorney Jill Clark -- one of three attorneys challenging incumbent Justice Lorie Gildea for seat #4 on the Minnesota Supreme Court -- has filed an action with the state high court seeking to get Gildea disqualified from the race or at least prevent the word incumbent from appearing next to her name on the ballot.

The Minnesota Supreme Court issued an order last Friday giving Clark until 1 p.m. today to serve a copy of her petition and any supporting materials on all the candidates for seat #4, which includes Gildea, public defender Rick Gallo and Hennepin County District Court Judge Deborah Hedlund.

The respondents in Gildea's action -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Rice County Auditor Fran Windschitl -- and any of the candidates for the seat who want to have until 4:30 p.m. Thursday to respond. Clark has until 4:30 p.m. the following day to file any reply.

The reason for the expedited timeline is the proximity of the primary, which is just three weeks from tomorrow. One of the things the court has asked for from the respondents is the final date by which the court must reach a decision in order for the ballot to be modified.

The high court still has not publicly announced a decision about what format the hearing on the merits will take and exactly who the decision-makers will be. The order issued Friday states: "Any decisions about additional recusals and/or appointment of acting justices to participate in this case will be made in advance of any consideration of the merits."

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