Retired Hennepin County Judge Rick Solum will mediate the budget dispute between the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton that resulted from Dayton's line-item vetoes of funding for the House and Senate.
The sides informed the Minnesota Supreme Court of the selection on Tuesday ahead of a deadline imposed by justices. The court ordered the case into mediation before it issues a final decision in the lawsuit filed by the Legislature this summer. Lawmakers sued after Dayton's veto, saying he breached separation of powers with the action. A lower court sided with the Legislature and nullified the veto.
There is time pressure for the mediation because a temporary funding agreement for the Legislature runs out in October. After that, the Legislature will have to exhaust reserves, lay off staff and potentially withhold paychecks. The Supreme Court wants an update on the progress of mediation by Sept. 30.
Appointed a judge in 1992 under then Republican Gov. Arne Carlson, Solum retired from the bench almost two decades ago and returned to private practice.
Solum is no stranger to high-profile cases.
Solum had a role in mediating a dispute around a new stadium for the Twins. And he arbitrated a case involving fired University of Minnesota basketball coach Clem Haskins. He was also had a role in sorting out an early controversy in then Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration.