Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Monday appointed Hennepin County Judge Theodora Gaïtas to the state's Court of Appeals, filling a vacancy that will be left by the retiring Judge John Rodenberg.

Gaïtas will serve in an at-large seat for the court, where she once worked as a judicial clerk.

Gaïtas co-chairs the Fourth Judicial District's Domestic Violence Steering Committee and has been based in Minneapolis since being appointed to the court in 2018 by former Gov. Mark Dayton. She also has private practice experience representing people in medical negligence and medical device litigation. Gaïtas has been an appellate public defender in Minnesota and a trial-level public defender in Pennsylvania.

"Judge Gaïtas has a reputation for excellence and an unquestionable commitment to fairness and justice for Minnesotans," Walz said in a statement Monday. "Her experience is deeply rooted in service to others — both in her work on behalf of victims of domestic violence and children, and as a public defender. It is an honor to appoint her to the Minnesota Court of Appeals."

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan meanwhile highlighted Gaïtas' "extensive appellate experience" and "commitment to equity, respect, and justice."

Gaïtas is a member of the Minnesota Supreme Court's Rules of Evidence Advisory Committee and is on the board of the Twin Cities Theatre Camp.

Gaïtas is Walz's fourth pick for the Court of Appeals. On Friday, the governor chose Worthington County Judge Gordon Moore to be his first, and likely only, Minnesota Supreme Court appointee of his current term.

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