Chief Justice Natalie Hudson, Associate Justice Karl Procaccini take office in public investiture ceremony
Posted: Monday, November 27, 2023
In a historic ceremony today filled with equal parts formality and humility, Natalie Hudson took the oath of office as Minnesota’s 23rd
Chief Justice, and Karl Procaccini as the 97th
Associate Justice, of Minnesota’s Supreme Court—the first person of color, and the first Muslim, to hold those positions.
The ceremony, held Monday at the Minnesota History Center, included a land acknowledgement by Associate Justice Anne McKeig, music by The Sounds of Blackness, and remarks by both Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.
Chief Justice Hudson’s husband, Rev. Willie Hudson, held the Bible as Judge Wilhelmina Wright administered the oath of office. Afterward, the Chief’s grandchildren, Gabriel Hudson and Naomi Hudson, robed her. In her remarks, the Chief Justice acknowledged the historic moment and its importance to both her and the state.
“I am humbled and honored to be standing here today, for such a time as this, and I am fully cognizant of the sacred trust that has been given to me…I am also proud, and filled with an invigorated sense of purpose, to be standing here today as the first person of color—the first Black woman—to serve as Minnesota’s Chief Justice,” she said. “Today’s ceremony is a testament to Minnesota's progress and to the enduring efforts to broaden diversity and representation within our justice system…[it] is also a celebration of all those who have fought tirelessly against the barriers of race, gender, and prejudice to create a judiciary and legal system that mirrors the rich tapestry of our society.”
“As I assume this honored position,” she continued, “I pledge to uphold these ideals and to work tirelessly to ensure that our judiciary continues to be a beacon of justice for all.”
Associate Justice Procaccini’s wife, Dr. Nayla Hamdi, held the Quran and the U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions while Chief Justice Hudson administered the oath of office. Priya Procaccini, the Justice’s niece, robed him. In his remarks, Procaccini expressed gratitude not only for his appointment, but also for the opportunity to work with his fellow justices on behalf of all Minnesotans.
“I am grateful to my new colleagues for their warm welcome and support as I have transitioned into my new role,” he said. “The Minnesota Supreme Court has a rich history and strong reputation. I am humbled by the opportunity to serve Minnesotans and will work hard to maintain the Court’s high standards.”
Both Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan highlighted the historic nature of the ceremony.
“Chief Justice Natalie Hudson is one of our state’s most experienced jurists,” said Gov. Walz. “She understands that not only do the courts need to administer justice fairly and impartially, but they also need to work to build faith and confidence in our democracy. Chief Justice Hudson will guide the court with a steady hand while promoting fairness and upholding the dignity of everyone.”
“Chief Justice Natalie Hudson has made history as the first Black woman to lead Minnesota’s judiciary,” added Lt. Gov. Governor Flanagan. “She is someone with a deep understanding of our justice system and a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of all Minnesotans. I am grateful Chief Hudson answered the call to serve because when our leaders more accurately reflect the people they serve, we all do better.”
“Not only is Justice Procaccini a brilliant legal mind, but he is a dedicated public servant who understands that our laws are a force for good to improve the lives of Minnesotans,” Walz continued. “I have been fortunate to have witnessed Justice Procaccini’s legal work firsthand, and I have complete confidence that he will serve our judiciary and the State of Minnesota with the fairness and integrity that it deserves.”
“Justice Karl Procaccini’s steady hand, calming presence, and ability to think outside the box saved thousands of Minnesotans’ lives throughout the pandemic,” Lieutenant Governor Flanagan added. “I am confident that Justice Procaccini will treat every case with the care and respect it deserves and will never lose sight of what is at stake in every decision he makes. I am honored to have worked alongside Justice Procaccini and know his passion for helping others will make him a great justice.”