Brodkorp, Brucatto, Attorneys, Judges and the MNGOP

Judge David Lillehaug and Michelle MacDonald

The Minnesota judiciary, cloistered as it is, provides its self-oversight, from its perspective of self-interest, and is supported by the also self-interested Minnesota State Bar Association. There is no oversight from the outside looking in, such as a legislative oversight committee.

During her career of her primary practice of family law, Michelle MacDonald has come to appreciate that there needs to be oversight of the judiciary beyond what it provides for itself. She is aware that there needs to be greater transparency, and greater public awareness of the deficiencies of the Minnesota judiciary, and she has been an advocate for all of that. Thus, the judiciary and the bar, including well-placed Republican judges and attorneys, with the support of their crony MNGOP Chair Downey, have worked to sabotage her efforts to bring about transparency and greater public awareness of judicial issues.

The commenters of this thread exhibit either ignorance of the issues and what motivates MacDonald, or that they are complicit saboteurs, likely knowingly, but perhaps unwittingly. I’m not sure what was meant by this, “Ms. MacDonald’s citation to over 40 percent of voters feels like an explanation point on the punch line….. Disapponted (sic)”, but it implies that the writer is ignorant of the vote record, where MacDonald actually garnered 46.54% of the vote. One commenter states that MacDonald concealed controversial portions of her background from the Republican “candidate selection committee.” That is an absolute falsehood, with the work of the committee well-supported and documented. (There were 17 members of the committee that voted after a final interview with MacDonald, wherein she made full disclosure of the controversies. The vote to forward her nomination was 14 to 3. The three votes in opposition were from the three attorneys on the Committee. One was the Downey-appointed Committee Chair. The votes of the other two, who didn’t give the Committee’s work and the candidate the respect of participating in the interview, where solicited and recorded by the Chair, with his private phone call following the interview.)

The joke in all of this is likely that David Lillehaug, who was a blatantly political appointee by Dayton, earning him the designation of “incumbent” on the ballot, was able to outpace MacDonald by a mere 6.68% of the vote. That result speaks very poorly of Lillehaug, exposing that his record, with its own controversies, has earned him much dislike on both sides of the aisle, and speaks very well for MacDonald, who’s record — including the controversial portions of it resulting from her challenges of the cloistered judiciary – has earned her much respect on both sides of the aisle.

MacDonald has come to appreciate that the selection of judges must remain in the hands of the voters, and not in the hands of the cloister with its undue influence. She also knows that the designation of incumbency on the judicial ballot, as a bit of information, is an unearned advantage in the context of judicial qualifications and temperament. Accordingly, the cloister loathes her for resisting its efforts to disenfranchise the voter, depriving the voters of robust campaigns that can bring transparency to the cloister and to the judicial temperament of its candidates.

Yes, it is indeed a very long shot that Dayton would appoint MacDonald to the Court, but I admire and respect her fortitude in filing an application. (While I have respected Justice Page’s temperament on the Court, it can be argued that his qualifications at the time of his appointment did not exceed those qualifications that MacDonald presently holds.) Dayton could do Minnesota well by giving us a probing voice on the Court, a move that would be bipartisan and bring some balance to his appointment of Lillehaug.

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