Dayton to appoint Lillehaug to the Supreme Court

Gov. Dayton will appoint former U.S. Attorney David Lillehaug to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Dayton will announce Lillehaug at an afternoon news conference, according to several people with knowledge of the appointment.

Lillehaug served as Dayton’s attorney in the 2010 gubernatorial recount against Republican Tom Emmer. Lillehaug also represented DFL Sen. Al Franken and got his start in politics working for former U.S. Sen. Walter Mondale. Lillehaug successfully sued the state over its handgun permit law. The decision in that case allowed churches to ban guns on their property. He also played a part in overturning then Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s decision to unilaterally enact spending cuts in 2009. He is an attorney with the Minneapolis firm Fredrikson and Byron.

Lillehaug also ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2000.

He isn’t the first supreme court justice to be active party politics. Republican Gov. Pawlenty nominated his campaign attorney and an attorney for the Republican Party to the court. Republican Gov. Arne Carlson nominated his former chief of staff and his former campaign attorney to the court.

Lillehaug will replace Justice Paul Anderson, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 in May.