I drove past the Best Buy World Headquarters recently. It reminded me of a stain on the transparency and accountability of our Minnesota Supreme Court.
The Minnesota State Supreme Court made a decision which dealt with what standards could be used for a government entity to take private property for eminent domain in 2002. The case came out of the City of Richfield actions against Walser, an auto dealer.
It was a big story because Richfield was a taking through the power of government, private property from one owner and giving it to another private person. Intervention of government to buy property for public purpose has always been a hot button issue. A major issue of the case was this an appropriate taking of property using the public purpose concept, with other factors such as blight, or was this an appropriate economic development or not.
The case went through the judicial process and ended up at our state's big court. Our high court is made up of 7 people. On this case, one justice did not participate in it. So it left six to hear it and decide the case.
The guts of the case, to decide, a Court of Appeals decision whether or not it is ok for Richfield to take a flourishing business and its property and give it to a growing business who wants property for their headquarters.
The case was decided on tie vote with the Court of Appeals decision being held and the taking of Walser went through.
For the transparency and accountability of this Court decision, I and others went to see who voted on what sides in the opinion. To my amazement there were no justice's names assigned to the tie votes and a statement saying they were evenly divided.
Then and now I contend that the names of the justices and their votes on the case should have been made public.