Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a former congressman, is solidly pro-abortion, but his job requires him to defend a state law mandating a 24-hour waiting period, parental notification and the burial or cremation of aborted babies.
Two abortion workers and an abortion advocacy organization are suing to block the law.
In his defense, Ellison left out a key argument, according to lawyers for a pro-life group.
The lawyers are now asking the court for permission to intervene and present the omitted defense: The Minnesota Constitution “does not provide a private cause of action to sue the government.”
“In other words, no plaintiff can sue the government for violating the Minnesota Constitution,” the motion to intervene explains.
Ellison left out that argument even though his office has used it often in other cases in recent months. And under court rules, if it’s not raised now, it cannot be brought up later.
Brian Gibson, executive director of Pro-Life Action Ministries, said the “sensible Minnesota laws which protect parental rights and families, uphold the tradition of treating human remains with dignity and respect, and ensure that accurate and complete information be available to women, among others, deserve to be robustly and properly defended.”
“Unfortunately, Attorney General Ellison appears to allow his radical pro-abortion beliefs to interfere with his obligations to the people of the state of Minnesota. Pro-Life Action Ministries is seeking to do what is proper and right to the duties of the Minnesota attorney general,” he said.
The Thomas More Society, which is representing the pro-life group, said the lawsuit should be dismissed because it is “meritless litigation.”
“The attorney general has failed Minnesotans on this lawsuit,” says Erick Kaardal, special counsel for the Thomas More Society.
The legal team said the constitutional requirement might be “the strongest defense” in the case.
“As the plaintiffs in this lawsuit have no standing to sue Minnesota over this issue, any time the attorney general has spent handling this lawsuit without raising the Lack of Private Cause of Action defense has wasted government resources and taxpayer dollars and undermined the defense,” Kaardal said.
“There is clearly no private cause of action for these claims, which are based upon violations of Minnesota’s constitution. This lawsuit only continues because of the attorney general’s office’s failure, despite the availability of an applicable and complete defense, routinely applied by the attorney general’s office in other cases, to stop it,” he said.
The motion to intervene states: “By omitting the defense of lack of private cause of action, the attorney general’s office has demonstrated that it does not adequately represent the interests of state taxpayers who want all unnecessary litigation against the government to end. In other words, the limited intervention is necessary because the attorney general’s office is not zealously representing the government.”