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Necessity defense

THUMBS UP: An interesting case was argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday. Should a woman be penalized by having her drivers license revoked for driving under the influence of alcohol when she was driving to escape her abusive husband?

Jennifer Axelberg found herself in that situation in rural Mora, Minn., in 2011. She and her husband were staying a cabin in Kanabec County when an argument turned violent. Axelberg took refuge by locking herself in their car, but when her husband starting breaking the glass to get her, she drove less than a mile to Mora to find help. She was arrested for drunk driving, and later pleaded guilty to reckless driving, losing her license in the process.

Her attorney argued that necessity left her no choice. We have to agree with him. There is a risk in allowing one more drunk driver on the road, but in this case there was also a risk of one more case of domestic assault, and possibly one more domestic homicide. We think the court should overturn the suspension.

Good for Congress

THUMBS UP: The U.S. House of Representatives, in a rare bipartisan vote, approved a modest budget deal Thursday night that eases the across-the-board sequester cuts and finds other ways to cut the budget deficit by $23 billion. It also ends the threat of government budget showdowns like the one that led to the last government shutdown.

We doubt that this is a sign of a permanent end to the rancor and partisan bickering that led to the last shutdown, but perhaps it is a sign of hope that Congress is getting ready to function a little better.

Springfield Nativity

THUMBS UP: We admire the spirit and dedication of the Springfield Area Nativity Theater Association (SANTA) that puts on the annual Nativity pageant in Riverside Park. This is the 28th season for the pageant, which is always held outdoors and always features a live nativity scene, complete with camels for the Magi and a donkey to carry Mary to Bethlehem.

The pageant was held last night and continues tonight at 7 p.m. in Springfield’s Riverside Park. We urge people to dress warmly and go enjoy this holiday tradition.

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