Conservatives Intervene in Lawsuit Because Ellison Has ‘Failed’ to Defend Minnesota’s Pro-Life Laws, ‘Financially Abused Taxpayers’


Three conservative groups said Monday that Attorney General Keith Ellison “has failed Minnesotans” for his lackluster defense of the state’s pro-life laws in a legal challenge brought against the state of Minnesota by pro-abortion advocates.

The Thomas More Society announced during a press conference at the State Capitol that it has filed a motion to intervene in the case in an effort to end what it calls “meritless litigation.” The motion was filed on behalf of the law firm’s clients, Pro-Life Action Ministries and the Association for Government Accountability.


Gender Justice and the Lawyering Project filed a lawsuit in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District in May on behalf of two anonymous abortion providers and the First Unitarian Society. That lawsuit seeks to overturn a number of “retrograde laws enacted by politicians decades ago,” Gender Justice said at the time.

The provisions challenged in the lawsuit include Minnesota’s legally-mandated 24-hour waiting period for abortions, parental notification standards, a requirement that only allows physicians to perform abortions, and a provision mandating that aborted babies be buried or cremated rather than disposed of with other medical waste.

Despite his personal views on the matter, Attorney General Ellison said in June that he would defend the laws of Minnesota.

“My job is to defend the laws of the state of Minnesota without regard to my own personal opinions,” he said. “That’s the job that I have, that’s what I signed up for, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

But the Thomas More Society, its clients, and a number of Republican lawmakers believe that Ellison has failed to raise the strongest defense against the lawsuit, that being the plaintiffs’ lack of a “Private Cause of Action” to carry the lawsuit.

Motion to Intervene

A lack of “Private Cause to Action” means Gender Justice and its clients have no right under Minnesota law to bring its lawsuit against the state. The Thomas More Society said Attorney General Ellison has “regularly and appropriately” pointed to a lack of “Private Cause to Action” to defend the state’s laws in a number of recent lawsuits.

To not do so in this case is “poor stewardship” and an “affront to Minnesota’s people,” Thomas More Society special counsel Erick Kaardal said at Monday’s press conference.

“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,” he added. “Minnesota’s common-sense abortion laws deserve a vigorous defense.”

The conservative groups have filed a “Notice of Limited Intervention,” meaning the proposed interveners have an interest in the subject matter of the lawsuit, are unable to protect that interest without being parties to the legal action, and are not adequately represented by existing parties.

“There is clearly no private causes 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,” Kaardal said. “The attorney general has failed Minnesotans on this lawsuit. The Thomas More Society is here on behalf of Minnesotans to correct for the Attorney General’s Office’s failings, assert the omitted complete defense, and end this litigation for good.”

Brian Gibson, executive director of Pro-Life Action Ministries, said Monday that Ellison has allowed “his radical pro-abortion beliefs to interfere with his obligations to the people of the state of Minnesota.”

“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,” said Gibson. “Pro-Life Action Ministries is seeking to do what is proper and right to the duties of the Minnesota Attorney General.”

Association for Government Accountability board member Debra Roschen said her organization is participating in the legal action “because we oppose the government’s financial abuse of taxpayers.”

“The seemingly intentionally partial defense of Attorney General Ellison has prolonged and expanded a case that should have been dismissed,” she said. “Instead, Ellison chooses to use his office to promote the pro-choice agenda all while ringing up the legal fees on Minnesota taxpayers.”

Reps. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) and Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) of the New House Republican Caucus spoke at Monday’s press conference and criticized the “inaction of Attorney General Ellison.”

“By not coming forward with this defense, are you being deceitful or are you being inept when you said that you would present a vigorous defense?” Miller asked of Ellison during the news conference.

Drazkowski was more blunt, saying Attorney General Ellison has “failed to uphold his oath of office.”

“His failure to defend our state’s statute is an assault on the protections for women and children that have existed for decades in our state,” he continued. “Moreover, the radical abortion advocates at Gender Justice involved in this case don’t even understand the basics of how our system of government functions. Gender Justice is attempting to circumvent the legislative process and enact their abortion agenda in secret through the courts. Ellison is a willing and happy accomplice.”

Monday’s full press conference can be watched below:

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].







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  1. […] That defense is commonly referred to as a “lack of private cause to action” on the part of the plaintiffs. Like the MVA, three conservative organizations sought a motion to intervene in a legal challenge brought against the state by pro-abortion advocates, The Minnesota Sun reported in October. […]