MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota Supreme Court judge has dismissed a recall petition against Gov. Tim Walz, specifically his response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota.

The organizers behind the petition accused Walz of malfeasance following his stay-at-home and other emergency orders locking the state down amid the coronavirus.

However, Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said that the petition failed to meet the high threshold in place to move a recall attempt forward.

“To determine whether sufficient grounds and facts have been alleged, I do not need to decide whether Gov. Walz had the authority to issue the stay-at-home order or the other emergency executive orders at issue,” she wrote.

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She said she did not intend to rule on whether Walz has exceeded the scope of his authority, but even if he did, the petition failed to prove that his actions constitute malfeasance.

Quoting a ruling in a 1999 recall effort against Gov. Jesse Ventura, Gildea noted malfeasance has “five identifiable elements: 1. an intentional act; 2. that is unlawful or wrongful; 3. in the performance of the officer’s duties; 4. that is substantially outside the scope of the authority of the officer; and 5. that substantially infringes on the rights of any person or entity.”

She concluded that because the threshold for malfeasance had not been proven, there was no basis upon which to refer the petition to a special judge.

Last week, Walz extended the state emergency order through mid-July, and on the first day of the special session, the Republican-led Minnesota Senate chamber voted to remove the special power Walz has had to handle the COVID-19 outbreak. A similar motion failed in the DFL-majority House.

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