Once again, Gov. Dayton has rewarded DFL activism with a cushy lifetime government job by appointing Lucinda Jesson, currently the Commissioner of Human Services in the Dayton administration, to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The Minnesota Court of Appeals is the second-highest ranking court in Minnesota, sitting just one level underneath the Minnesota state Supreme Court.
The nomination caught the attention of Terry Stone, a judicial activist in the Republican Party of Minnesota. In a letter sent to activists, then sent to byteclay.com, Stone said “Fellow judicial activists, Dayton is at it again. This time, his liberal head of the welfare department is elevated to the appeals court.” Stone then cited his reasons for what’s wrong with the process, saying “Again, an election has been stolen. Again, the Minnesota court system has been tainted by political affinity. Again, the integrity of an objective constitutional Minnesota court has been compromised. Again, the liberal Minnesota media will not mention the impropriety of this appointment. Again, Mark Dayton has paid back a 2014 financial supporter.”
The DFL is nothing if not loyal to those that contribute to their high-profile campaigns. Last winter, Gov. Dayton appointed Adam Duininck to be the president of the Metropolitan Council after Duininck served as a major fundraiser for Gov. Dayton’s re-election campaign. Later, Duininck received a huge raise from Gov. Dayton. Part of that raise happened when Gov. Dayton gave huge raises to all of his commissioners. The other part of Duininck’s raise came from the position going from a part-time job to being a full-time job. The salary increased from $61,000 a year to $144,991 a year.
How many readers of this article had their salary increase by $84,000 last year?
Appointing political appointees to judicial positions is disgusting. It virtually guarantees that the governor’s political ideology, not the law or Minnesota’s Constitution, will be served. When judges are sworn in, they take an oath. That oath is found in Article 5, Section 6 of Minnesota’s Constitution. That section reads “Each officer created by this article before entering upon his duties shall take an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and of this state and to discharge faithfully the duties of his office to the best of his judgment and ability.”
What’s especially disturbing in Commissioner Jesson’s case is that she’s being appointed to Minnesota’s second-highest court as her entry-level job. Most judges nominated to the Minnesota Court of Appeals have served as judges before getting appointed to the higher court. In Commissioner Jesson’s case, Minnesotans don’t know what her judicial philosophy is or whether she’s a political ideologue.
One thing that’s certain, though, is that she’s had lots of difficulties running the Minnesota Department of Human Services. It’s totally fair to question Commissioner Jesson’s competence. It’s more than fair to question Gov. Dayton’s appointment, too.