Diversity in Minnesota courts

Mark Cohen, the editor at Minnesota Lawyer, penned a fine column a week or so ago on diversity in Minnesota’s court system.

After acknowledging the obvious requirements to be a Supreme Court justice, Cohen wrote…

Diversity is probably the biggest other factor that is on the mind of the legal community. With Hanson’s departure, the court will be left with one African American justice (who gained his seat through election rather than appointment), two women justices and three justices with the surname of Anderson. There has never been an African American, Native American, Hispanic or Asian candidate appointed to the Minnesota high court — an odd situation given that there are so many qualified lawyers in each of these groups.

That record is intact. Today, the governor made his selection. Chris Dietzen, an Appeals Court judge and his onetime campaign attorney, got the nod.

Pawlenty made four district court appointments today, picking prosecutor Janet Barke Cain for a new judicial slot in Carver County, private attorney Tim Wermager for a new position in Dakota County, GOP state Sen. Tom Neuville for an opening in Rice County and private attorney Jerome Abrams for a judgeship in Scott County.

All are said to be highly qualified, and none expands the diversity of Minnesota courts.

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