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Monday, May 19, 2008

Bar hails chief at retirement party last Thursday

A good representative crowd from the local legal community turned out to bid a fond adieu to retiring Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Russell Anderson at the Marriott City Center last Thursday. The retirement party was sponsored by the Minnesota State Bar Association. Most of the state's biggest law firms purchased their own tables at the dinner event to say goodbye to the chief, whose retirement becomes official on June 1.

The highlights included a video presentation from Justice Alan Page, who was in New York City for a previously scheduled commitment. It seems the chief did not give his associate justices enough warning of his retirement to make sure that their calendars were clear for his party. (How very Scandinavian of him!)

Speaking of associate justices at the event, MSBA President Brian Melendez garnered a few laughs when he pointed out during his remarks that Justice G. Barry Anderson had told him he would not stay for Melendez's remarks unless he was given "equal time." In addition to being MSBA president, Melendez is of course, the chair of the state's DFL. Barry Anderson, on the other hand, was active in the state's Republican Party prior to joining the bench, serving as its lawyer for 10 years. After reiterating Barry Anderson's quip, Melendez called out for the justice -- and, sure enough, he had, in fact, actually left.

When Chief Justice Russell Anderson got up to make his remarks after Melendez spoke, he drew laughter when he assured the crowd that Barry Anderson had left to avoid hearing his remarks, not Melendez's.

The chief justice had a few good zingers -- including taking longtime State Court Administrator Sue Dosal to task for spreading around his best stories so he couldn't tell them. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but earlier in the evening, while Dosal was making her goodbye remarks to the chief and sharing some of those very same stories, a technology glitch caused the microphone to cut out ...

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