News Item
Gov. Walz names Natalie Hudson Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice

Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Governor Tim Walz today announced the appointment of Natalie Hudson as Minnesota’s next Supreme Court Chief Justice. She is the first African American person to hold the position, which she will assume on Oct. 2.

Justice Hudson has served on the Minnesota Supreme Court since November 2015. Previously, she was a member of the Court of Appeals from 2002 until her appointment to the Supreme Court.

“Justice Hudson is an outstanding choice to serve as Minnesota’s next Chief Justice—I have had the privilege of working closely with her on the Supreme Court for nearly eight years, and I have been impressed by her deep knowledge of the law, her collegial spirit, and her unparalleled work ethic.” said outgoing Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea. “With more than 20 years of service as an appellate court judge, Justice Hudson is among the most talented and respected jurists in the state, and she is the perfect person to lead the Judicial Branch in the years ahead.”

Justice Hudson began her legal career as a staff attorney with Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Service in 1982, representing indigent clients with housing issues. She eventually moved into private practice with Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi, then transitioned to academia as the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Hamline University School of Law. She moved back into daily law practice as St. Paul’s City Attorney in 1992, and as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota in the Criminal Appeals and Health Licensing divisions in 1994.

Justice Hudson is deeply committed to excellence and fairness in jurisprudence. She has served on the Implementation Committee on Multicultural Diversity and Racial Fairness in the Courts, the Minnesota Supreme Court Racial Bias Task Force, the Minnesota Legal Services Planning Committee, and as a group leader on the Warren E. Burger Inn of Court, which promotes legal excellence, professionalism, and ethics.

Hudson earned her B.A. from Arizona State University and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.

The governor also named Karl Procaccini to fill the Supreme Court vacancy that opened as a result of Justice Hudson’s promotion.

Procaccini teaches law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He previously served as the governor’s general council, was a partner at Greene Espel PLLP, and also taught at William Mitchell College of Law. Procaccini was named a 2020 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer, and he received the 2021 Public Attorney Award of Excellence from the Public Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, for his work on the state’s response to COVID-19.

“We’re excited to welcome Karl Procaccini to the Minnesota Supreme Court,” said State Court Administrator Jeff Shorba. “His sharp intellect and keen insight were exceptionally valuable during collaborations with the governor’s office, so we are eager to work more closely with him in his new role as a Supreme Court Justice.”

Procaccini earned his A.B. from Harvard College, LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from the American University in Cairo, and J.D. from Harvard Law School. He will assume his new role on the Supreme Court on Oct. 2.