I know we have a LOT of news around here of Governors & other politicians doing a lot of shitty things, and nominating questionable judges for the bench in their states, so I thought I’d share a bit of happier news. Here in MN (on Friday), we’ve just had the first appointment of an openly gay judge to our state Supreme Court.
Her name is Margaret Chutich, she’s a grad of the University of MN, & the University of Michigan, and judging by what’s been written of her in the local news media, she seems to be pretty well-respected.
The fact that she is out is incidental, and wasn’t particularly one of the factors in the decision to appoint her—she is extremely well-qualified, and that was the reason she was chosen (as is becoming fairly common in Governor Dayton’s appointments, she comes from the state appellate court system, where she spent a few years). According to the articles, Dayton had her in mind as soon as Wright was nominated for the Federal position, and because he’d already interviewed Chutich before (During the Hudson appointment), he didn’t interview anyone else.
According to KSTP (our local ABC affiliate): “Chutich has been on the Minnesota Court of Appeals since 2011 and will replace Wilhelmenia Wright, who the U.S. Senate approved for the federal bench this week.”
I believe this is Governor Dayton’s 4th appointment to the State Supreme Court.... as with his administrative/cabinet appointments, there have been mostly women (dude IS a feminist, and BIG on getting minority representation into our systems of justice here in MN!), with the appointment of Chutich, we remain at a 3-4 balance of women to men (the women will be Chutich, Natalie E. Hudson, and Chief Justice Lori Gildea)
Dayton’s last appointment to the MN State Supreme Court, earlier this fall (And also EXTREMELY well-qualified!), was Judge Natalie E. Hudson, who happened to be a WOC.
According to many of the reports written this fall when Hudson was appointed, he said she was by far the most qualified person for the position, so that’s why she replaced Justice Alan Page (Yes we DID have a former NFL player on our state Supreme court—and he was an EXCELLENT & immensely well-respected judge too!).
I know this doesn’t at all fix any of the inherent racism and sexism in our justice system, but personally, I think it’s a pretty decent place to start. I was happy to read this in the KSTP article: “During his time as governor, Mark Dayton has increased racial diversity of Minnesota judges by 64%, and raised the proportion of female judges in the state by 22%.”
Say what you will about the man being a lousy public speaker (And oh boy, is he!😉), but he IS a progressive, and he’s been doing A LOT of good things in this state, and for the rights of women here, ever since he was elected for the state’s top spot.
Like I said, it doesn’t FIX the problem, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.... now we just need to keep moving.