The balance of Minnesota’s Supreme Court will be changing.
Justice Christopher Dietzen revealed on Thursday that he will be resigning effective August 31, 2016. He sent notice of his intent to resign to Governor Mark Dayton on Wednesday. Dietzen was appointed to the court by Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty in October of 2008. His term is set to expire this year.
The resignation gives Dayton, a Democrat, an opportunity to appoint a fourth pick to the state’s highest court. That would give his appointees a 4 to 3 majority on the bench.
“For eight years, Justice Christopher Dietzen has served the people of Minnesota on our state’s Supreme Court with honor and distinction” said a statement from Dayton. “Justice Dietzen’s contributions to justice and jurisprudence will have a lasting impact on our state. On behalf of all Minnesotans, I thank him for his dedicated service. As Justice Dietzen concludes his service on the Court, the Judicial Selection Commission and I will give careful consideration to his replacement.”
Appointee Will Not Stand For Election This Year
Ryan Furlong of the Secretary of State’s office says whomever Dayton appoints will have to stand election in 2018. Article 6 Section 8 of the state constitution says
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of judge the governor shall appoint in the manner provided by law a qualified person to fill the vacancy until a successor is elected and qualified. The successor shall be elected for a six year term at the next general election occurring more than one year after the appointment.
Statewide general elections only happen in even years and 2018 would be the first one after a year had passed since the appointment.