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Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Dayton's appointments increase diversity among Minnesota judges

Posted by: Abby Simons under Gov. Mark Dayton Updated: July 14, 2014 - 3:12 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton has greatly increased the diversity of Minnesota judges through appointing female and minority judges to Minnesota courts, according to analysis by the administration.

Since 2011, Dayton has appointed 76 new judges to fill vacancies in Minnesota’s 10 judicial districts, the state Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court, increasing the racial diversity of the state’s judges by 53 percent, and the number of female judges by 18 percent.

During his term, Dayton has appointed seven of the state's nine Hispanic judges, or 78 percent of them.  Dayton also appointed the first Hispanic appellate court judge in Minnesota history in March by naming intellectual property attorney Peter Reyes Jr. to the 19-judge panel. Dayton appointed Justice Wilhelmina Wright, the state’s first black woman to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2012. Since Justice Alan Page, who is also black, was first elected to the Supreme Court, Wright is the first black Minnesotan appointed to the Supreme Court by a governor.

In other numbers, Dayton increased the number of women judges in greater Minnesota by 36 percent, and increased diversity in Hennepin County, the state’s busiest judicial district, by 86 percent.

In other numbers:
1,490 applications were filed for 86 judicial vacancies during Dayton’s term so far. Of them:

  • 839 were male
  • 483 were female
  • 1,146 were white
  • 47 were black
  • 36 were Latino
  • 23 were Asian/Pacific Islander
  • 13 were American Indian
  • 57 did not disclose

Of those applications, 211 finalists were chosen by the Judicial Selection Committee for Dayton's consideration. Of those finalists:

  • 120 were male
  • 91 were female
  • 177 were white
  • 14 were black
  • 13 were Latino
  • 4 were American Indian
  • 3 were Asian/Pacific Islander

Dayton is expected to make appointments for 10 current vacancies in the coming months.

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