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State of Minnesota

Judicial Selection in the States: Minnesota

Overview

News

The North Carolina Senate has voted to override the governor s veto of HB 100, a bill to take return the state s trial court...

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The Oklahoma House and Senate this week advanced bills to change the way the state s appellate courts in general, and their supreme court in...

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A plan to expand public information about Montana Supreme Court races has been filed in that state s House. First, some background. Montana uses a...

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Courtesy of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of...

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The Minnesota judiciary consists of the supreme court, the court of appeals, and the district court. According to the constitution, judges are chosen in nonpartisan elections, but many judges resign before their terms end, allowing the governor to appoint their replacements.

Until 2002, Minnesota's code of judicial conduct prohibited judges and judicial candidates from seeking or accepting political endorsements, discussing their views on disputed legal and political issues, and soliciting campaign contributions. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in 2005 struck down these provisions as violations of the First Amendment. Supporters of the decisions assert that allowing judicial candidates to share their views will provide voters with much needed information, but critics worry that it will threaten judge's impartiality. In 2007, a citizens commission headed by Governor Al Quie recommended that the state change its process for selecting judges from contested elections to a merit-based gubernatorial appointment system, and that the state adopt a judicial performance evaluation program for judges.