Candidate's View: Discretion is out of control in Minnesota courts

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John L. Berman

I filed as a U.S. Senate candidate on June 1 in Kansas and on June 2 in Minnesota. I had decided to file just a few days before that. I decided after I saw the knee on George Floyd’s neck. My interest is in the Midwest.

Minneapolis has disaster areas within it, regardless of whether FEMA designates them.

It’s a good idea to ask whether the same old political sloganeering and policies hold any real solution. I believe they don’t.

I saw the knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck while I was writing an objection for filing in Minneapolis federal court. Last April 7, I had read astonishing words from the Minnesota Court of Appeals. I decided to file a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court one week later. I wrote, “The appellate court’s affirmation of the mere unreasoned 'belief' of a judge, as a valid exercise of discretion, defines pure arbitrariness, as from countries run by military regimes."

It’s on the public record under Berman v. Segal. Minnesota courts have a completely wrong and distorted view of what a judge’s “discretion” means. It has led to unconstitutional decisions by Minnesota courts, violating civil rights.


The cop’s “discretion” led to his knee on Mr. Floyd, violating his civil rights.

Courts enforce the law on law enforcement. There’s an important connection there, and it made me decide to file as a Senate candidate.

Minnesota courts, including in Hennepin County, have big problems. I don't know about other Minnesota counties. I know that Minnesotans are good people, but they don’t realize the big problems with their courts.

Problems also stem from federal courts. The federal courts have failed. They were bound to fail because Article III (the court section) of the Constitution could not scale-up from 1789. I’m an engineer, and engineers think about scaling laws.

The great thing about President Donald Trump’s impeachment and trial was that it showed clearly — if you weren’t aware of this already — that Congress decides what is an impeachable offense. And the only thing that impeaches Congress is the lever behind the curtain in the voting booth. Lawyers and professors don’t decide. Courts don’t decide.

The same goes for impeachable offenses for judges. Congress, legislatures, and then the levers behind voting curtains are what decide.

My cousin Steve killed himself after he was charged for the 2008 Ham Lake fire. It was a complete shock to me. I don’t know anything about it but what I read in the news. I did know (and still know) that prosecutorial “discretion” — there’s that word again — is out of control. From my blog: “Steve was built like Smokey the Bear and, given his quiet, unassuming personality, was as likely to intentionally start a forest fire as was Smokey.”

I also survived a high-speed plane crash in 2018. Heroes gave me a second life, which also figured into my decision to file my candidacy. I was given a second life. I won’t give you baloney.


John L. Berman is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the Aug. 11 primary. He can be reached at His blog is at There are five Republican and five Democrat candidates for the seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Tina Smith. They were all invited by the News Tribune Opinion page to submit a commentary. Their “Candidate’s View” columns are being published this month.

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