Legal battle begins over Lt. governor job

An hour long hearing Tuesday brought more than a century of constitutional law to bear in Minnesota, with a judge set to decide whether Michelle Fischbach can simultaneously hold the offices of state Senator and Lt. Governor. 

She was elevated to the position when Gov. Mark Dayton appointed then-Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to the U.S. Senate in the wake of Al Franken's announcement that he was stepping down from his post over several allegations of sexual misconduct, and is fighting tooth-and-nail to keep her seat in the state Senate while temporarily filling the position until a general election can be held later this year.

Fischbach, through attorney Kevin Magnuson, argued in the case's first hearing that the arrangement has happened before several times in the state's history--nine to be exact--and that there is no conflict of interest in holding both jobs at the same time. In fact, her lawyers said, the entire case was brought by a Democrat in Fischbach's district and represents an attempt to create a tie vote in the state Senate.

"For me it's a matter of the constitution," Magnuson said. "They are trying to avoid her participating in the session once it begins."

Attorneys for Destiny Dusosky, who brought the case in the first place, countered by saying that since the last time someone held both positions simultaneously every provision used to justify the move has been changed, making the legal precedent murky. 

After Tuesday, the wait for both parties begins, with the judge giving no indication of a timeline for his decision.