In a court filing Tuesday, Republican Michelle Fischbach stood firm in her contention that she can simultaneously serve as a state senator and lieutenant governor.
Fischbach, who as senate president ascended to the office of lieutenant governor when Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Tina Smith a U.S. Senator, responded formally to a constituent’s lawsuit that challenges her attempted dual role.
Destiny Dusosky of Sauk Rapids is asking the court to order Fischbach to resign her senate seat. But Fischbach argues an 1898 Minnesota Supreme Court decision allows her to do both jobs, and “neither the constitution nor the lieutenant governor’s duties have materially changed” since then.
Fischbach’s attorney, Kevin Magnuson, argues the Senate is the “sole judge” of its members' eligibility. Magnuson writes that the injunction sought by Dusosky would throw out a duly-elected senator.
“That would certainly upset the status quo and also deny the people of Senate District 13 representation in the senate for potentially all of 2018,” Magnuson wrote. “The constitution was intended to prevent that very scenario.”
Magnuson also argues that there has been no conflicting constitutional powers, as Dusosky claims, because Fischbach has “not taken the oath of office of lieutenant governor,” has “not exercised a single duty as lieutenant governor” and the legislature is not currently in session.
A hearing on the case is scheduled next Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court.