Minnesota Chief Justice Russell Anderson to retire

Here’s the release:

CHIEF JUSTICE RUSSELL ANDERSON ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM HIGH COURT

For Immediate Release

ST. PAUL, MINN. (March 10, 2008) – Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Russell A. Anderson today announced his retirement from the state’s highest court, effective June 1, 2008.

“My wife’s health concerns and my age prompt me to retire at this time,” Anderson said in his letter of retirement to Governor Tim Pawlenty. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Minnesota over the the last 25 years, first as a district court judge from 1982 to 1998, and as a member of the Supreme Court from 1998 until the present time. And I am sincerely grateful for the honor of serving as Chief Justice during my final years on the Court.”

Anderson’s tenure in public service began when he was elected Beltrami County Attorney in 1978, a position he held until 1982 when he was appointed to the district court bench by Governor Al Quie. After serving 16 years on the trial court bench chambered in Crookston, Anderson was appointed an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court in 1998 by Governor Arne Carlson.

As an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, Anderson worked closely with then Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz on completing the restructuring of the trial and appellate courts into a single, state-funded third branch of Minnesota government governed by a newly created Minnesota Judicial Council.

In January of 2006 Governor Tim Pawlenty appointed Anderson Chief Justice. As Chief Justice, Anderson continued the development of the Judicial Council, serving as its chair. “I am extremely proud of the work of the Judicial Council. From its inception it has worked to ensure that every Minnesotan has equal access to justice. It has strived to develop forward-thinking budgeting and strategic planning practices. With nearly 3,000 employees and 100 courthouses and hearing facilities, it is critical that resources provided to the courts be used in the most effective and efficient ways possible, and the Judicial Council has been working hard to fulfill that commitment.”

Anderson said, “However, even in difficult economic times like these, it is imperative that Minnesota’s judicial branch — a core function of government — remain adequately funded to serve its constitutional role of preserving the rule of law, protecting public safety, and ensuring the rights and liberties guaranteed by our state and federal constitutions.”

Anderson said he leaves knowing that the Judicial Branch is in good hands. “Over my many years as a judge I have developed the greatest respect and admiration for the people who work in the Judicial Branch, often under trying circumstances and with too few resources. Minnesota judges and court staff, with the support of our sister branches of government and the public, have built a judicial system second to none for efficiency, effectiveness and dedication to the delivery of fair and impartial justice.”

“It is with a full measure of admiration for this great institution, and with a commitment to remain a strong advocate for this critical third branch of our democracy, that I am retiring.” Anderson said that although he will return to private life, he will continue to support efforts to maintain a fair and impartial judiciary.

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