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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Judicial elections: The race for chief justice

It wouldn't officially be judicial campaign season without Greg Wersal filing a lawsuit. As Minnesota Lawyer reports today, Wersal has kicked things off in style with a federal lawsuit alleging a few of the remaining campaign restrictions violate the constitution. To paraphrase a famous quote about Boston Red Sox's Manny Ramirez, that's just Greg being Greg.

An interesting side note contained in the story is that he may launch a bid this year to be chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. (He identified himself in court pleadings as a future judicial candidate. Asked about it by Minnesota Lawyer, he archly replied: “I understand the chief justice is up for election.”)

Chief Justice Russell Anderson is one of three justices whose seats are up for election this year. Interestingly, it's not yet clear whether the chief justice actually plans to run. Anderson will reach mandatory retirement age in 2012, meaning that he could not complete his full six year term if he does decide to stand for election. Adding to the uncertainty, the two associate justices up for election -- Paul Anderson and Lorie Gildea -- have reportedly formed campaign committees. Meanwhile, things have been oddly quiet at the chief justice's camp.

If Anderson does decide not to run, the conventional wisdom would be that he would step down sometime before the election and let Gov. Tim Pawlenty appoint a successor, taking the slot out of the current election cycle. If, on the other hand, Anderson does run, it would be extremely tough for a challenger to beat him. The chief justice is scholarly, even-tempered and not very controversial.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What happened to the Carlson name that Wersal previously insisted be included in his ballot name? Did he divorce his wife?