Justice Natalie Hudson to head MN Supreme Court

Hudson becomes the first Black chief justice in state history, and support for the appointment is both enthusiastic and widespread.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Justice Natalie Hudson will write the next chapter of her distinguished legal career serving as Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

Gov. Tim Walz made the announcement early Wednesday, making Hudson the first African American chief justice in state history. 

“Justice Hudson is one of our state’s most experienced jurists. She has a strong reputation as a leader and consensus builder,” said Governor Walz. “I know that she will use her decades of judicial experience and deep understanding of our justice system to lead the Judicial Branch with a steady hand and strong conviction. I am confident that she will advance a vision that promotes fairness and upholds the dignity of all Minnesotans.”

“This is a tremendous responsibility that I approach with humility and resolve, seeking to continue the work of my predecessors in administering one of the best state court systems in the nation,” Justice Hudson reflected in a released statement, “and always seeking to deliver the most accessible, highest-quality court services for the citizens of Minnesota.”

Justice Hudson fills the supreme court vacancy left by Justice Lorie Gildea, who announced earlier this year that she would retire in October. She has served as an associate justice on Minnesota’s highest court since 2015, when she was appointed by then-governor Mark Dayton. Before that, Hudson was a member of the Minnesota Court of Appeals for 13 years, practiced criminal law for the state attorney general’s office for 8 years and served as St. Paul’s city attorney. 

“I am delighted to learn that Governor Walz has appointed Justice Natalie Hudson to serve as chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court,” said Judge Wilhelmina Wright of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota and former Minnesota Supreme Court justice. “As a former colleague, I know she brings to this leadership role her keen intellect, her broad legal experience, and her respect for the rule of law. Importantly, she understands that the decisions of the Minnesota Supreme Court affect the lives of everyday people.”

Governor Walz also announced the appointment of Karl Procaccini to serve as associate justice. Procaccini will fill the vacancy that will occur upon Justice Hudson’s elevation to chief justice.


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