Gov. Mark Dayton will chose among three finalists --  two Appeals Court judges and  former U.S. attorney and elections lawyer and -- to replace Justice Paul Anderson on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The state's commission on judicial selection recommended he pick among Appeals Court Judge Edward Cleary; Appeals Court Judge Natalie Hudson and former U.S. Attorney and litigator David Lillehaug.

The selection will be Dayton's second pick for the Supreme Court. Last year, the governor appointed Wilhelmina Wright , then an Appeals Court judge, to the court.

At that time, Lillehaug was also among the finalists. Lillehaug is a shareholder at Fredrickson & Byron and represented Dayton during his 2010 recount and U.S. Sen. Al Franken in his 2008-2009 recount.

Cleary also has recount experience. He was on the state's canvassing board during Franken's recount, joining a panel that helped decide how to count disputed ballots. Cleary was first appointed to a district court by Independence Party Gov. Jesse Ventura in 2002 and appointed to the Appeals court by Dayton, a DFLer.

Hudson, a former St. Paul City attorney and Hamline law school assistant dean, was also first appointed to the bench by Ventura. Before her 2002 appointment to the Appeals Court, Hudson was an assistant attorney general focusing on criminal and health issues.

Anderson will reach mandatory retirement age in May, leaving an open spot for Dayton to fill.

Minnesota Supreme Court picks do not require legislative approval but once appointed, justices must stand before voters after a six-year term.

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