Helen Meyer to leave Minnesota Supreme Court

meyer.jpgMinnesota Supreme Court Justice Helen M. Meyer, seen here in June 2009, is leaving the High Court in August 2012. (AP Photo/Pool, Ben Garvin)

Associate Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Helen M. Meyer will leave her post, effective Aug. 10.

“Over my 10 years as a member of the Supreme Court and 20 years as a trial lawyer, I have developed a great respect for the people who work in the Judicial Branch,” Meyer wrote in her letter to Gov. Mark Dayton announcing her decision to leave the court. “At a time when the public’s trust and confidence in all institutions is shaken, the court system in Minnesota stands as a beacon of hope to our citizens.”

Meyer did not give a reason for her departure in a press release posted on the Supreme Court’s website, saying only that she will miss her colleagues and is looking forward to “returning to the life of a private citizen.”

Peter Knapp, a law professor from William Mitchell College of Law who reviews Supreme Court decisions, said Meyer was a strong voice for the interests of children and victims of domestic violence during her 10 years on the Court.

“I think her opinions reflect a genuine compassion for human issues in the law and I think one of the principle parts of her legacy will be that compassion,” Knapp said.

Knapp said unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, justices on Minnesota’s highest bench don’t stay on for life.

“Ten years is a long time to serve as a justice and it’s not a surprise that someone would decide that’s a fair amount of your life to give to that public service,” Knapp said.

Meyer has served since 2002, when she was appointed to the bench by Gov. Jesse Ventura, and was elected to six-year terms in 2004 and 2010. Prior to her appointment, Meyer worked for 20 years as a civil litigator and mediator.

The vacancy would give Dayton his first chance to appoint someone to the Supreme Court.

Update:

Governor Mark Dayton released the following statement regarding Meyer’s announcement:

“Associate Justice Meyer has provided outstanding service to the people of Minnesota over the last decade; I thank her for her service, and wish her the very best in her future endeavors.”

Dayton will be asking the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection to assist in soliciting candidates, evaluating applicants and recommending a nominee to replace Meyer.

Sasha Aslanian contributed to this report.

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