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Governor Pawlenty Appoints Matthew Johnson Court of Appeals Chief Judge

Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010

Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced the appointment of Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Matthew E. Johnson as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.  Johnson succeeds current Chief Judge Edward Toussaint and is appointed to a three-year term that commences on November 1, 2010 and expires on October 31, 2013.


Court of Appeals Judge Matthew E. Johnson (R) speaks after being appointed Court of Appeals Chief Judge by Governor Tim Pawlenty (L).

Johnson has served as a Court of Appeals Judge since January 1, 2008.  Previously, he was an attorney and shareholder with the Minneapolis law firm now known as Nilan Johnson Lewis from 2001 through 2007, an associate attorney with Smith Parker in Minneapolis from 1995 to 2001, an associate attorney with Popham, Haik, Schnobrich and Kaufman in Minneapolis from 1994 to 1995, a law clerk for Judge David R. Hansen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit from 1993 to 1994, and a law clerk for Chief Judge Charles R. Wolle of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa from 1992 to 1993.  Johnson earned his juris doctorate degree with honors from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1992, where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review, and received the “Student Award of Merit” in 1992.  He earned his bachelor of arts degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield in 1985.

“Matt has distinguished himself on the Court of Appeals as a thoughtful jurist, strong intellect, and an excellent writer,” Governor Pawlenty said.  “He has the consensus-building and leadership skills to be an innovative and effective manager of the Court.”

Johnson is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, where he served on its Judicial Elections Task Force; Ramsey County Bar Association; Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies; and he was a member of the Federal Bar Association, Hennepin County Bar Association, Warren E. Burger Inn of Court, Second District Bar Ethics Committee, and Legal Access Point Project.  Johnson, 47, was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and lives in St. Paul with his wife, Elizabeth Thimmesh and their three children, Noah, 10, Isaac, 8, and Theodore, 4.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has jurisdiction of appeals from all final decisions of trial courts other than conciliation courts except for appeals in election contests, convictions of murder in the first degree and appeals from the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals and the Tax Court, which are appealed directly to the Supreme Court.  The Court of Appeals consists of 19 judges; 11 judges who serve at-large, and eight judges who are initially appointed – one each – from the state’s eight congressional districts.