Minnesota federal judge denies case to restart youth sports; group set to appeal

A group of parents suing Gov. Tim Walz over youth sports says it will continue fighting the case in court after a judge upheld the governor’s ability to put organized sports on hold during the pandemic.

Judge John Tunheim of the U.S. District Court of Minnesota denied Let Them Play MN’s case late Friday night, and the group says it will appeal to the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals.

The group claims that Walz is "targeting false or misleading information regarding youth sports and COVID-19," and the original complaint states that kids "shouldn’t accept arbitrary and irrational burdens."

Part of Let Them Play MN’s appeal includes a request for a new judge, citing a potential conflict of interest. Kathy Tunheim, the judge’s wife, is the CEO of Tunheim Partners, a public relations firm the group claims was paid to draft and disseminate Minnesota’s COVID-19 communications.

Youth sports could resume for practices only by Jan. 4 under Walz’s latest executive order.