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State of Minnesota

Methods of Judicial Selection: Minnesota

Judicial Nominating Commissions

In 1989, the Minnesota legislature created the commission on judicial selection to advise the governor on appointments to the district court. Although not required to do so by statute, some governors have used the commission to screen candidates for the supreme court and court of appeals as well. When a vacancy occurs on the district court, the commission evaluates applicants for the position and submits the names of three to five nominees to the governor. The governor is not required to appoint a judge recommended by the commission.

The commission on judicial selection consists of forty-nine members, including twenty-seven who are appointed by the governor and twenty-two who are appointed by the supreme court. Nine commission members are appointed at large and participate in filling all vacancies; four members are appointed from each of the state's ten judicial districts and participate only when vacancies occur in their respective districts. The governor and the supreme court are required to appoint both lawyers and nonlawyers. The governor's appointees serve at the pleasure of the governor, while the supreme court's appointees serve four-year terms that end when the governor's term ends. Click here for statutes regarding the commission's composition and operation.

For more information, see Judicial Merit Selection: Current Status.

Nominating Commission Costs

  • $5000 (2007)