Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Governor Pawlenty and the Supreme Court

One of the unsung items of serious heroics during the Pawlenty tenure has been his tremendous success in appointing Judges and Justices with true respect for the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

In June, Chief Justice Russell Anderson will step down from the court giving Governor Pawlenty a majority of members on the court appointed by him during his time as Governor.

A quick side note on Chief Justice Anderson.

I've had the honor of knowing Chief Justice Anderson since I was very young. I attended grade school, high school and even college with his daughter. Chief Justice Anderson was gracious enough to swear me in to the state bar in his chamber after I was admitted. He is a class act, a cautious jurist, and wonderful person.

Now, Governor Pawlenty will have a chance to continue to make long-term, positive, institutional change in Minnesota by appointing yet another honest Justice who will not use the black robe as a tool to be a super-legislator. Governor Pawlenty has consistently appointed well respected jurists who are committed to respecting the law, and respecting his or her role as an umpire calling balls and strikes rather than a batter stepping up to the plate.

The departure means Pawlenty will have named a majority of justices over his five years in office.

Pawlenty previously named G. Barry Anderson, Lorie Gildea and Christopher Dietzen to the Supreme Court.

Dietzen was selected in November for the most recent high court vacancy. Pawlenty has used a more insular selection process for the Supreme Court than he has for lower court appointments.

"We've been through several Appeals Court and Supreme Court appointments recently, so we're familiar with the talent pool," Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said. "The governor will make his decision based on that and other information." (Excerpted from Article. Click here to read article in its entirety).

I wish Chief Justice Anderson well in his retirement. He has been the consummate public servant, an honorable Chief Justice and a wonderful guy.

Governor Pawlenty will undoubtedly choose yet another strong voice for judicial respect and restraint.

I know this to be true because he has been in office since 2003 and has never missed on this issue. Not once.

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