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Natalie Hudson Becomes First Black Supreme Court Chief Justice In Minnesota

Natalie Hudson Becomes First Black Supreme Court Chief Justice In Minnesota

Natalie Hudson is making history after being appointed as the first Black chief justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

Hudson got her start as a staff attorney with the Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Service in 1982, KEYC News Now reports. There, she focused on helping low-income clients dealing with housing issues. She worked her way up through the ranks, coming on as an associate attorney at Robins, Zelle, Larson & Kaplan in 1986.

Hudson served as assistant dean of student affairs at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul Minnesota until 1992. She was then appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2002, NBC News reports. 

Hudson was re-elected twice to the Court of Appeals before being appointed as an associate justice to the Minnesota State Supreme Court in 2015 by former Governor Mark Dayton. There she worked on several committees, including the Minnesota Supreme Court Racial Bias Task Force.

Now Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has named Hudson as the chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court., This makes Hudson the the first African American person to ever hold the title. 

“Justice Hudson is one of our state’s most experienced jurists. She has a strong reputation as a leader and consensus builder,” Walz said in a statement. “I am confident that she will advance a vision that promotes fairness and upholds the dignity of all Minnesotans.”

The historic appointment is not one that Hudson takes lightly, with Hudson expressing her gratitude at being able to continue to work for Minnesota’s high court. 

“This is a tremendous responsibility that I approach with humility and resolve, seeking to continue the work of my predecessors in administering one of the best state court systems in the nation, and always seeking to deliver the most accessible, highest-quality court services for the citizens of Minnesota,” Hudson said in a statement.

Walz has appointed his former general counsel, Karl Procaccini, to replace Hudson as an associate justice. Hudson will be honored with an official ceremony before assuming her new role on October 2nd after current Chief Justice Lorie Gildea retires.

Cover photo: Natalie Hudson makes history as first Black Supreme Court Chief Justice in Minnesota/Photo Courtesy of Renee Jones Schneider / Associated Press File