CHICAGO — A Minnesota judge last week ruled that budget cuts ordered by Gov. Tim Pawlenty last summer were unconstitutional — a ruling that could have a big impact on the state’s current $57 billion budget and on how lawmakers tackle a fresh $1.2 billion deficit heading into 2010.

Ramsey County District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin last week issued a temporary restraining order against enforcing Pawlenty’s budget cuts — also called unallotments — and ordered that the state restore $5.3 million in funding to a small state nutrition program that provides cash grants to elderly and disabled Minnesotans to help them with special dietary needs.

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