Judge who lifted Minnesota abortion restrictions denies bid to intervene

A Ramsey County judge who declared several Minnesota abortion laws unconstitutional has denied an attempt by Traverse County’s lead prosecutor to intervene in the case.

In July, District Court Judge Thomas Gilligan, Jr., struck down more than a half-dozen abortion restrictions, saying they violated the state’s constitution.

RELATED: Judge rules that several Minnesota abortion restrictions are unconstitutional

His ruling ignited debates over whether or not Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who has openly voiced support for abortion rights, legally had to appeal the ruling. After a couple of weeks, Ellison announced that his office wouldn’t appeal, saying it wouldn’t be a “proper or prudent use of limited state resources.”

RELATED: Ellison says he won’t appeal ruling lifting Minnesota abortion restrictions

Following Ellison’s announcement, a group filed a motion on behalf of Traverse County Attorney Matthew Franzese to allow Franzese to intervene in the case and, subsequently, appeal Gilligan’s ruling.

The judge listened to arguments from each side on Aug. 19 and determined that Franzese didn’t meet any of the four required factors for intervention. Therefore, he denied the motion to intervene.

Part of Gilligan’s decision had to do with the fact that Franzese waited until the court had already decided the case before filing his motion to intervene, but the judge also didn’t understand why a county attorney would have the authority to represent the state in a civil case.

“The State should have the ability to speak with one voice and make litigation or public policy decisions without the threat of intervention by county attorneys like Franzese who may disagree with those decisions,” Gilligan wrote in his opinion.

Jess Braverman, with Gender Justice, called Gilligan’s ruling “the correct decision,” noting none of the requirements for intervention were met. She added that, in her opinion, it’s likely Franzese will appeal.

Ellison released the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS regarding the decision:

“I’m gratified the court has agreed with my position and rejected this belated attempt to intervene in this case, which comes three years too late. This decision is more confirmation that the case was thoroughly argued and that my decision not to appeal, after three years of vigorous defense of these laws and a cost to taxpayers of $600,000, is in the best interests of Minnesotans.”

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has reached out to Franzese and the group who filed the motion on his behalf but has yet to hear back from either.