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Pawlenty to hit deadline for budget-cut defense

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration has until Tuesday to explain to the Minnesota Supreme Court why his 2009 budget cuts were legal.

State lawyers representing Pawlenty have a deadline for filing a brief to the high court over his so-called unallotments. Pawlenty is appealing a lower court ruling that said he went too far in balancing the budget on his own.

A Ramsey County judge ordered him to restore money for a nutrition program for elderly and disabled residents with low incomes. The case put $2.7 billion in budget moves in doubt.

Pawlenty has said he properly used his executive powers, while Democratic lawmakers and others say he stretched the limits as a way around the Legislature.

The Supreme Court hears the case in March.