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Minnesota Supreme Court

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Minnesota Supreme Court
Court information
Justices:   7
Founded:   1858
Location:   Saint Paul ,Minnesota
Chief:  $
Associates:  $
Judicial selection
Method:   Non-partisan election of judges
Term:   6 years
Active justices

Alan Page  •  Lorie Gildea  •  Barry Anderson (Minnesota)  •  Christopher Dietzen  •  Wilhelmina Wright  •  David Stras  •  David Lillehaug  •  

Seal of Minnesota.png

The Minnesota Supreme Court is the highest court in the state of Minnesota. It consists of seven justices who are elected to the court in non-partisan elections for six-year terms. Two of the seven seats on the court were in electoral contests in 2008. The court hears cases in the Supreme Court's chamber of the Minnesota State Capitol or in the Minnesota Judicial Center.


The current justices of the court are:
JudgeTermSelected by
Justice Alan Page1993-2016Elected
Chief justice Lorie Gildea2006-2018Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Justice Barry Anderson (Minnesota)2004-2018Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Justice Christopher Dietzen2008-2016Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Justice Wilhelmina Wright2012-2020Gov. Mark Dayton
Justice David Stras2010-2018Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Justice David Lillehaug2013-2020Gov. Mark Dayton


Certain types of appeals can go directly to the Supreme Court, such as those involving taxes, first degree murder, and workers' compensation.

Judicial selection

Justices are elected in general elections for terms of six years. If a vacancy occurs, the Governor of Minnesota appoints the replacement.[1]

Political outlook

See also: Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of Minnesota was given a Campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, Minnesota received a score of -0.07. Based on the justices selected, Minnesota was the 22nd most liberal court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.[2]


According to the Minnesota Supreme Court, "Judges of the supreme court, the court of appeals and the district court shall be learned in the law. The qualifications of all other judges and judicial officers shall be prescribed by law."[3]

Removal of justices

"Minnesota judges may be removed one of two ways: after a public hearing and on the recommendation of the Board on Judicial Standards, the supreme court may censure, retire, or remove a judge, or judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate."[4] Judges may also be subjected to a recall election.[5]


Fiscal Year Filings Dispositions
2012 135 104
2011 122 95
2010 98 114
2009 111 127
2008 148 126
2007 132 126


Notable decisions


Financial disclosure

See also: Center for Public Integrity Study on State Supreme Court Disclosure Requirements

In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. Minnesota earned a grade of F in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.[7]

History of the court

File:Minnesota Supreme Court Interior.JPG
Interior of the Minnesota Supreme Court courtroom

As a territory, Minnesota held a three-judge panel in 1849. President Zachary Taylor appointed the justices, who were attorneys not from the territory. The court system was reconstructed in 1858 upon statehood.[8] In 1992, former Minnesota Vikings player and Pro Football Hall of Famer Alan Page was elected to an open seat on the court, he was sworn in January 1993.

Notable firsts

External links


Portions of this article have been taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Copyright Notice can be found here.


See also: Minnesota judicial elections, 2012

Chief justice

CandidateIncumbencyPlacePrimary VoteElection Vote
GriffithDan Griffith    NoChief Justice29.4%ApprovedA39.59%   DefeatedD
ClarkJill Clark (Minnesota)    NoChief Justice21% 
GildeaLorie Gildea   ApprovedAYes49.7%ApprovedA60.0%   ApprovedA

Place 1

CandidateIncumbencyPlacePrimary VoteElection Vote
AndersonBarry Anderson (Minnesota)   ApprovedAYesPlace 158.94%   ApprovedA
BarkleyDean Barkley    NoPlace 140.65%   DefeatedD

Place 4

CandidateIncumbencyPlacePrimary VoteElection Vote
NelsonAlan Nelson    NoPlace 421.7% 
StrasDavid Stras   ApprovedAYesPlace 448.8%ApprovedA55.95%   ApprovedA
TingelstadTim Tingelstad    NoPlace 429.4%ApprovedA43.62%   DefeatedD


See also: 2010 State Supreme Court elections

Incumbent Helen Meyer defeated challenger Greg Wersal.

Minnesota Supreme Court
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Helen Meyer (D) BallotCheckMark.png n/a 58%
Greg Wersal (R) n/a n/a

Incumbent Alan Page defeated challenger Tim Tingelstad.

Minnesota Supreme Court
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Alan Page BallotCheckMark.png n/a 63.3%
Tim Tingelstad n/a n/a

Christopher Dietzen ran unopposed to retain his seat.

Minnesota Supreme Court
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Christopher Dietzen BallotCheckMark.png n/a n/a


See also: State Supreme Court elections, 2008

Incumbent Paul H. Anderson defeated challenger Tim Tingelstad.

Minnesota Supreme Court
2008 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Paul H. Anderson BallotCheckMark.png n/a 60.4%
Tim Tingelstad n/a 39.2%

Incumbent Lorie Skjerven Gildea defeated challenger Deborah Hedlund.

Minnesota Supreme Court
2008 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Lorie Skjerven Gildea BallotCheckMark.png n/a 55%
Deborah Hedlund n/a 45%

MinnesotaMinnesota Supreme CourtMinnesota Court of AppealsMinnesota District CourtsMinnesota Problem-Solving CourtsMinnesota Tax CourtMinnesota Workers' Compensation Court of AppealsUnited States District Court for the District of MinnesotaUnited States bankruptcy court, District of MinnesotaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitMinnesota countiesMinnesota judicial newsMinnesota judicial electionsJudicial selection in MinnesotaMinnesotaTemplate.jpg