Supreme Court

7 members, En Banc

Appeals from:

Court of Appeals decisions
Trial court decisions if Supreme Court decides to bypass the Court of Appeals
Tax Court decisions
Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals decisions
Review of all first-degree murder convictions

Original Actions:

Election Disputes; Professional Regulation 
 

2018 Supreme Court Direct Appeals

 
Cases Filed
Workers' Compensation
20
Tax Court
9
Professional Regulation
61
First Degree Homicide
18
Miscellaneous
4
Total Direct Appeals
112


2018 Supreme Court Petitions for Further/Accelerated Review (PFR/PAR)

 
Count
Filed
605
Review Denied
470
Granted Further/Accelerated Review
83
Other (Remand, dismiss)
2


2018 Supreme Court Opinions/Disposition Orders

 
Count
Affirmed
60
Affirmed in Part
9
Reverse/Remand
26
Other (Discipline, dismiss, other disposition)
51
Total
146

David R. Stras Resigns from the Minnesota Supreme Court

Supreme Court Associate Justice David R. Stras resigned from the state’s highest court on January 31, 2018, following his confirmation by the United States Senate as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth District.  Justice Stras joined the Minnesota Supreme Court on July 1, 2010, and was elected as an associate justice in 2012.  Prior to his appointment to the Court, Justice Stras had been a member of the faculty of the University of Minnesota Law School since 2004.  He has also served as counsel to the law firm of Faegre & Benson LLP in its appellate advocacy group.  Following law school, Stras clerked for The Honorable Melvin Brunetti of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then for The Honorable J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

While serving on the Court, Justice Stras served as liaison to the advisory committees on the Rules of General Practice, Juvenile Protection Procedure, Adoption Procedure, and Civil Appellate Procedure. He also served as liaison to the State Law Library, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Ethics Board, and the Guardian ad Litem Board. He was also the liaison to the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, Client Security Board, and the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, all of which required him to handle many issues regarding attorney ethics and discipline on behalf of the Court.

Paul C. Thissen Appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court

On April 17, 2018, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Paul C. Thissen to fill the vacancy left upon the resignation of Justice David R. Stras after his confirmation as a federal court of appeals judge.  Justice Thissen joined the Court on July 24, 2018.  

Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Thissen was Senior Counsel of the Health Law Group at the Ballard Spahr Law Firm (formerly Lindquist & Vennum) where he worked with clinics, hospitals, health plans, and long-term care clients. He was previously a Shareholder at Briggs and Morgan, an appellate sate public defender, and a law clerk for the Honorable James B. Loken at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

During his 25-year legal career, Justice Thissen has represented a wide range of pro bono clients, including survivors of domestic abuse seeking protective orders, people fleeing persecution in their home countries, and parents seeking to preserve custody rights. Justice Thissen also developed and organized a program to train lawyers on the unique needs of and obstacles to justice for people with disabilities, and then paired those lawyers with pro bono clients.  
Justice Thissen was a Minnesota State Representative from 2003 until his appointment to the Supreme Court, serving as the Speaker of the House and as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. 

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments at Anoka High School

On April 11, 2018, the Minnesota Supreme Court convened at Anoka High School in Anoka as part of the Court’s biannual program that seeks to teach students about the court system and build the public’s trust and confidence in the Judicial Branch. The Anoka High School visit marked the 47th in-school oral argument for the Court.

The state’s highest court heard oral arguments of an actual case, State of Minnesota v. Cortney John Edstrom (Case No. A16-1382), in front of nearly 850 Anoka High School students. 

Following the oral arguments, members of the Court held a question-and-answer session with the students in attendance, shared lunch with student representatives, and spent the afternoon visiting classrooms to talk more about the state’s court system.

Supreme Court visits Thief River Falls, Red Lake Nation

The Minnesota Supreme Court visited Thief River Falls and Red Lake Nation in September as part of a program that seeks to teach students about the court system and build the public’s trust and confidence in the judiciary.
On the morning of September 13, 2018, the state’s highest court convened at Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls to hear oral arguments in a real court case in front of hundreds of students. That evening, the Supreme Court held a community dinner in the Lincoln High School Commons.
On September 14, the Court spent the day at the Red Lake Nation with students and the Red Lake Tribal Court. 
Since the Supreme Court convened oral arguments in Rochester, Minn., in 1995, school visits have taken center stage in the Court’s public outreach and education efforts. The Thief River Falls event marked the 48th in-school oral arguments for the Court. 

Demographic Data

In January 2016, the Lawyer Registration Office began collecting race/ethnicity information in addition to gender data from attorneys during the lawyer registration process.  The following data was reported in 2018.
 

Active Attorneys - ALL

Race/Ethnicity
Active Total
Active Admitted 0 to 10 yrs
Active Admitted 11 to 20 yrs
Active Admitted 21 to 30 yrs
Active Admitted 31 to 40 yrs
Active Admitted 41+ yrs
 
Asian/Pacific Islander
704
359
240
82
19
4
 
Black/African American
518
201
147
116
41
13
 
Hispanic/Latino
288
128
90
53
13
4
 
Native American/ Alaskan
108
36
34
28
6
4
 
White/ Caucasian
19,834
5,731
4,988
4,004
3,405
1,706
 
Multiple
380
162
93
58
44
23
 
Choose Not to Answer
3,858
1,674
899
677
460
158
 
Total
25,690
8,291
6,491
5,008
3,988
1,912
 

 

Inactive Attorneys - ALL

Race/Ethnicity
Inactive Total
Inactive Admitted 0 to 10 yrs
Inactive Admitted 11 to 20 yrs
Inactive Admitted 21 to 30 yrs
Inactive Admitted 31 to 40 yrs
Inactive Admitted 41+ yrs
 
Asian/Pacific Islander
135
42
59
29
5
0
 
Black/African American
74
14
24
24
8
4
 
Hispanic/Latino
53
13
21
15
4
0
 
Native American/ Alaskan
12
1
4
7
0
0
 
White/ Caucasian
3,060
469
924
861
611
195
 
Multiple
43
11
17
10
3
2
 
Choose Not to Answer
502
97
163
142
80
20
 
Total
3,879
647
1,212
1,088
711
221
 


Active Attorneys - Male

Race/Ethnicity
Active Total
Active Admitted 0 to 10 yrs
Active Admitted 11 to 20 yrs
Active Admitted 21 to 30 yrs
Active Admitted 31 to 40 yrs
Active Admitted 41+ yrs
 
Asian/Pacific Islander
322
157
107
42
12
14
 
Black/African American
277
96
79
67
27
8
 
Hispanic/Latino
135
60
36
26
10
3
 
Native American/ Alaskan
59
20
17
14
4
4
 
White/ Caucasian
11,875
3,041
2,567
2,343
2,385
1,539
 
Multiple
219
77
56
35
29
22
 
Choose Not to Answer
851
262
213
161
142
72
 
Total
13,738
3,713
3,075
2,688
2,609
1,653
 


Inactive Attorneys - Male

Race/Ethnicity
Inactive Total
Inactive Admitted 0 to 10 yrs
Inactive Admitted 11 to 20 yrs
Inactive Admitted 21 to 30 yrs
Inactive Admitted 31 to 40 yrs
Inactive Admitted 41+ yrs
 
Asian/Pacific Islander
60
18
28
11
3
0
 
Black/African American
34
7
11
11
2
3
 
Hispanic/Latino
22
5
10
6
1
0
 
Native American/ Alaskan
6
1
1
4
0
0
 
White/ Caucasian
1,486
230
363
386
340
167
 
Multiple
20
4
6
6
2
2
 
Choose Not to Answer
120
19
42
23
25
11
 
Total
1,748
284
461
447
373
183
 


Active Attorneys - Female

Race/Ethnicity
Active Total
Active Admitted 0 to 10 yrs
Active Admitted 11 to 20 yrs
Active Admitted 21 to 30 yrs
Active Admitted 31 to 40 yrs
Active Admitted 41+ yrs
 
Asian/Pacific Islander
377
200
131
39
7
0
 
Black/African American
241
105
68
49
14
5
 
Hispanic/Latino
146
66
52
26
2
0
 
Native American/ Alaskan
49
16
17
14
2
0
 
White/ Caucasian
7,890
2,667
2,406
1,644
1,012
161
 
Multiple
161
85
37
23
15
1
 
Choose Not to Answer
457
179
133
84
54
7
 
Total
9,321
3,318
2,844
1,879
1,106
174
 

 

Inactive Attorneys - Female

Race/Ethnicity
Inactive Total
Inactive Admitted 0 to 10 yrs
Inactive Admitted 11 to 20 yrs
Inactive Admitted 21 to 30 yrs
Inactive Admitted 31 to 40 yrs
Inactive Admitted 41+ yrs
 
Asian/Pacific Islander
72
24
29
17
2
0
 
Black/African American
40
7
13
13
6
1
 
Hispanic/Latino
28
7
11
7
3
0
 
Native American/ Alaskan
6
0
3
3
0
0
 
White/ Caucasian
1,564
237
559
473
268
27
 
Multiple
23
7
11
4
1
0
 
Choose Not to Answer
83
18
20
34
8
3
 
Total
1,816
300
646
551
288
31
 

 

Active Attorneys - Chose Not to Answer Gender

Race/Ethnicity
Active Total
Active Admitted 0 to 10 yrs
Active Admitted 11 to 20 yrs
Active Admitted 21 to 30 yrs
Active Admitted 31 to 40 yrs
Active Admitted 41+ yrs
 
Asian/Pacific Islander
5
2
2
1
0
0
 
Black/African American
0
0
0
0
0
0
 
Hispanic/Latino
7
2
2
1
1
1
 
Native American/ Alaskan
0
0
0
0
0
0
 
White/ Caucasian
69
23
15
17
8
6
 
Multiple
0
0
0
0
0
0
 
Choose Not to Answer
2,550
1,233
553
422
264
78
 
Total
2,631
1,260
572
441
273
85
 

 

Inactive Attorneys - Chose Not to Answer Gender

Race/Ethnicity
Inactive Total
Inactive Admitted 0 to 10 yrs
Inactive Admitted 11 to 20 yrs
Inactive Admitted 21 to 30 yrs
Inactive Admitted 31 to 40 yrs
Inactive Admitted 41+ yrs
 
Asian/Pacific Islander
3
0
2
1
0
0
 
Black/African American
0
0
0
0
0
0
 
Hispanic/Latino
3
1
0
2
0
0
 
Native American/ Alaskan
0
0
0
0
0
0
 
White/ Caucasian
10
2
2
2
3
1
 
Multiple
0
0
0
0
0
0
 
Choose Not to Answer
299
60
101
85
47
6
 
Total
315
63
105
90
50
7
 

 

Retired Attorneys

 
Asian/ Pacific Islander
Black/ African American
Hispanic/ Latino
Native American/ Alaskan
White/ Caucasian
Multiple
Choose Not to Answer
 
Total
3
7
3
1
696
2
2,680