This afternoon, Governor Pawlenty filled a number of judicial appointments, including a very important Supreme Court position which will be vacant beginning January 1st of 2008.
Conservatives, Republicans, Minnesotans, Americans and even Liberals who respect the judiciary should be absolutely proud of these recent appointments, and what they mean for the future of the judiciary and jurisprudence in Minnesota.
I'd like to touch on just two of them.
First, Governor Pawlenty appointed long-serving State Senator Tom Neuville as a Rice County District Court Judge. I first met Senator Neuville while in high school, once when I had an opportunity (thanks to Senator Roger Moe actually) to address the Senate Education Committee, and once down in his hometown of Northfield when I attended American Legion's Boy's state. I got to know him my freshman year of college at St. Olaf, part of the area he has admirably represented in the State Senate.
Judge Neuville is conscientious, brilliant and conservative. He is also a person of impeccable integrity who we can all be confident will administer justice without fear or favor.
Governor Pawlenty also appointed appeals court Judge Christopher Dietzen to replace the Honorable Sam Hanson on the State Supreme Court. Justice Dietzen is a class act, has been a brilliant private practice attorney and has served with absolute distinction on the court of appeals since December of 2004. Justice Dietzen will join a court growing more and more restrained and intellectually honest after a handful of truly egregious, and intellectually void decisions over the years. Justice Dietzen will serve along side model justices such as Barry Anderson and Lorie Gildea. He will stand with integrity and a humble nature along with Chief Justice Russell Anderson (a former Judge in Crookston, and a St. Olaf Grad himself).
I cannot express how exciting today's announcements are, especially in light of a judiciary that is often unrestrained and all too often political. Nobody can make those claims about this set of appointments. Governor Pawlenty continues to impress as he leaves his mark on the judiciary. His influence and his integrity will have a lasting effect long past his Gubernatorial tenure.