News Item
Thissen sworn-in as 95th Supreme Court Justice

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2018


The Honorable Paul C. Thissen was sworn in as the 95th Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court during a public investiture ceremony on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. The ceremony was held at the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul where Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea welcomed the almost 400 guests and members of the public.
Justice Thissen was presented at the ceremony by Governor Mark Dayton, who appointed Justice Thissen to the Supreme Court in August to replace Associate Justice David R. Stras, who was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Speaking on behalf of Justice Thissen at the investiture ceremony were Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James B. Loken, Former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz, and Ms. Kate Perushek. President Paul Godfrey presented remarks on behalf of the Minnesota State Bar Association.
Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea administered the oath of office, while Justice Thissen’s wife, Karen Wilson Thissen, held the bible. Justice Thissen’s children, Emily, Griffin, and Evan, assisted with the robing.
After taking the Oath, Justice Thissen spoke of the importance of finding common humanity. Justice Thissen highlighted ensuring access to justice for all Minnesotans as a guiding light of his career.
“It is the culmination of my lifetime of legal practice and the calling of public service that has lead me to this moment. Access to justice will be the key value I keep at the top of my mind as I serve Minnesotans on the Supreme Court,” Justice Thissen said.
The Honorable Paul C. Thissen was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Governor Mark Dayton on May 14, 2018, to fill the vacancy created upon the United States Senate’s confirmation of the appointment of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David R. Stras to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Thissen Paul 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 State 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, Paul 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. Thissen also developed and organized a program to train lawyers on the unique needs and obstacles to justice for people with disabilities, and then paired those lawyers with pro bono clients. Thissen is a board member for Healthy and Happy Kids, a Trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and a former volunteer mock trial coach.
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. Thissen earned his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from the University of Chicago.
More information about Justice Thissen »
Justice Thissen's head shot »