As we've discussed before, Governor Pawlenty has worked diligently to right the ship of state here in Minnesota, seeking to fundamentally shift the public policy paradigm on issue after issue after issue.
He has moved, albeit slowly by necessity, some of the institutional red-tape within the bureaucracy. And despite the make up of the legislature, has tried to demand any legislation that crosses his desk have measurable benchmarks and legislative sunsets.
But nowhere will Governor Pawlenty have left a more positive mark on the state than in the way he has reshaped the judiciary.
Today, Governor Pawlenty appointed Eric Magnuson to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (replacing a very fine and honorable Chief Justice Russell Anderson who will be retiring in June).
Magnuson is a well respected attorney, always a student of the law and will be a Supreme Court Justice who respects the rule of law and the intent of the constitution. I have the highest level of confidence that we will not see Justice Magnuson attempting to legislate from the bench.
In appointing Magnuson, Governor Pawlenty said, "Eric is nationally recognized for his appellate advocacy and writing, and is consistently ranked among the top appellate attorneys by his peers. He has argued hundreds of cases to the state and federal appellate courts covering a wide range of issues over the course of his 30-year career. Eric has also taken on leadership positions in his law firms and in legal professional associations, which will serve him well as he assumes the leadership of state’s judicial system. He will be an outstanding Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court."
On the seven member Minnesota Supreme Court, a majority of four are Governor Pawlenty appointees. And of the four Governor Pawlenty appointees, 100% are rock-solid, with a tremendous amount of respect for their role as judges (as opposed to some sort of super-legislator in a black robe).
These appointments will have a lasting and real effect on the state of Minnesota for decades to come, and we all owe Governor Pawlenty a debt of gratitude for his backbone and tenacity on judicial appointments.